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Precision Agriculture: Technology-Enabled Cropland Innovation

Enterprise Technology Review | Monday, August 19, 2019

Agricultural activities are on the verge of a technology-enabled transformation that will see process optimization and substantially enhanced yields.

FREMONT, CA: The agricultural industry is experiencing an increased adoption of modern technologies. The wave of digitalization has now reached agriculture, and stakeholders are introducing technology-backed methods to overcome long-standing challenges and drive better revenue growth. The industry is now trying to optimize itself with precision agriculture, which is a data-backed method of agriculture. With precision agriculture, farmers can get a lot of impactful insights into factors that determine crop yield. From soil sampling for nutrient content determination to advanced weather prediction, precision farming covers a diverse array of technological applications that can benefit the agricultural sector.

The agricultural sector faces several challenges, and changing weather pattern, increased the occurrence of natural disasters, reducing soil fertility can take a toll on the primary industry. Technology-driven solutions empower farmers to take on all of these and bring about improvement in yield. As the cost of technologies reduces, even developing countries will look forward to upgrading and shifting into precision agriculture.

Service providers are now working extensively to create solutions for the agricultural industry and are calling themselves agricultural technology companies. By creating feasible and easily applicable solutions, the service providers allow farmers to deploy technology in their fields. The solutions are affordable and induce a lot of innovations. The most apparent benefits of adopting these solutions include improved efficiency in the use of resources like water, fertilizers and chemicals, higher quality yields, better risk mitigation, and reduced wastage.

Drone and satellite imagery is an essential aspect of precision farming. These technologies can be used to determine the health of the crop through aerial surveillance. By considering various wavelengths of light, calculations can be made regarding the general health of the crop and detect variability in it. Controlling pest and weed comes easy with crop scouting, another example of precision agriculture. In crop scouting, a stakeholder has to input detailed information about their crop onto an analyzing platform. The platform generates insights that help farmers take steps towards improving the health of their harvest.

Yield data analysis and forecasting are integral to an agriculturalist. With the help of smart sensors attached to machinery that is used in the field, or with the help of satellite imagery, farmers can monitor factors that might imply the yield. Thus, precision agriculture allows farmers to determine which way the crop is headed and what the potential yield would be. Yield sensors are often attached to machinery like tractors and harvesters and help determine grain yield, moisture levels, texture, organic matter, salinity and deficiency of nutrients. Thus, farming becomes smarter with precision agriculture.

The data that modern equipment help to collect can be leveraged to create directly applicable solutions. Thus, data management becomes essential in precision farming. Software platforms that enable farmers to accumulate relevant data and recommend farming strategies have gained a lot of traction in the industry. These digital capabilities add real value to all the information that is captured. Other information platforms that contain a large number of weather records and crop records are also available for use in farming. Data from these can be integrated into solutions to customize them. 

Just like any other industry, farming has immense advantages in automation. Robotics technology have led to the development of robots exclusively for agricultural purposes. These robots can assist farmers in overcoming human limitations. Similarly, the Internet of Things has many applications in agriculture. By creating a network of connected devices, farmers can gain remote control over operations. Technology has empowered farmers to automate irrigation, pesticide application, and many other aspects. Accelerating swiftly, the agricultural industry can evolve well to make the most of technology.