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How Technology has Enhanced Farming

Enterprise Technology Review | Thursday, October 31, 2019

Technologies are helping farmers gain knowledge and skills that they need to harvest their chosen crops. The advantages of technology have transformed farming in the last few years, and there is no sign of it stopping.

FREMONT, CA: In the last few years, the farms have changed as they have become more prominent, the livestock is usually raised inside, yields are higher, less manual labor is needed. Nowadays, it is not common to see dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs, and poultry on the same farm. These changes have been possible only because of the advancement in technology.

Over the past few years, technology has improved the medicine and healthcare industries, communications, and transportation industries. The field of agriculture has also changed due to the enhancement of technology.

Here are some of the few ways in which technology has transformed farming.

1. Livestock Genetics and Breeding

It is not a new practice to improve livestock as humans have been domesticating animals for a very long time. Earlier, the farmers used to select livestock so that they can adapt to specific climates and breed them for the improvement of productivity, temperament, meat, leather, and wool. The practice is not new, but the technology that is used for the development of livestock genetics and bred animals have transformed significantly in recent years. The animal geneticists work so that they can identify the elements within the genes that will improve animal growth, health, and the ability to utilize nutrients. The improvement in genetics can also increase production while reducing environmental impacts.

It is not uncommon for beef cattle and pig farmers to purchase straws of semen from the male animals that are genetically superior and use it for artificial insemination for the females to breed. In recent days, embryo transfer has also gained popularity in the cattle industries of dairy and beef. 

 2. Crop Genetics and Pest Management

Similar to livestock breeding, the idea of enhancing plant genetics is also not new. For years farmers and scientists have already used plant selection and breeding methods to improve crop yield. The plant breeders have worked for improving the germplasm for the development of seeds to deliver the best harvest for specific soil and weather conditions.

Today, most of the plant breeders use the mixture of both traditional and modern methods for improving the plants. The modern breeding methods consist of marker-assisted breeding, which helps speed up the time that it takes to get the preferred improvement and genetic engineering (GE). Moreover, GE technology can also improve the plants’ resistance for insect, drought tolerance, herbicide tolerance, and even disease resistance power. The technology will give farmers an additional tool that will help them increase crop harvest.

 3. Labor and Mechanization

The most significant impact has been made by the improved farm equipment that helps farmers raise crops and also take better care of their livestock. Tractors or planters can be more extensive and efficient, but now there are not only livestock barns that have automated feeders but also robotic milking machines that milk cows. The technologies have provided the farmers with the capability to produce more with less labor.

4. Livestock Facilities

Apart from the beef cattle, livestock is generally raised inside the climate-controlled barns. Farmers do this for protecting them from predators, extreme weather conditions, and also diseases that are spread by animals and people. Raising livestock inside also helps the farmers utilize the technology appropriately. There are many livestock barns, which have Wi-Fi and automated feed and climate control systems as well. Farmers can even monitor their cows in labor or adjust the temperature in a barn from their smartphones. The farmers can also get help from technology during a power cut as the back-up generators start, and they are also alerted with a text. The techniques have permitted the farmers to become more efficient and take proper care of their animals.

5. Specialization

Earlier, the farms used to look similar to the ones in children’s books as they used to raise a little of everything on their farms. Farmers made a good living and fed their family from their farms of corn and hay, a few cows, laying hens, some pigs, and also a large garden. However, over the years, the look of these farms has changed. The change was possible because the cultivator has invested more in tractors and better livestock facilities. They have also intensified their efforts to make the most out of the investments. The farmers sold maximum of the livestock and emphasized on raising corn, pigs, and soybeans.

Today farms have become more specialized. If a farmer raises livestock, the focus is generally on growing a single type. Most of the pig farms specialize in giving birth or finishing. The beef cattle farmers generally have cow-calf herds and focus on breeding, calving, and weaning, or finishing operations where they raise weaned caves to market weight. Specialization helps the farmers acquire the technologies and skills that they need to produce the chosen crop well. 

See Also: Top Agtech Startups