Next big thing in Agriculture: Precision Farming
Agriculture is the most important activity in the world to support the ever-growing population growth and feeding the hungry world. In a few decades, the population is going to reach a number that can no longer be supported by the farming techniques we have today. The technology we have now in most of the agricultural farm isn’t accurate one way or another. The efficiency of our farms will no longer be capable of supporting the entire population.
If we are running a farm, growing crops, we need to collect the data, the accurate ones; anything that is related to the crop growing- soil, water, air, weather, climate, etc. Any mistakes can lead to crop damage and economic loss. Now, humans are not much of an accurate being, mistakes are often, and to minimize or if possible, prevent the losses due to these mistakes, machines can be used. Crop farms, as we know have undergone a drastic change within the past few decades. We have large tractors instead of bulls or horses pulling the plough, big combined harvesters performing everything at once instead of the tedious multiple hand operations, and many other techniques. These things have now taken over most of the farms.
Now, let’s talk about the precision, perfection in the farm activities we perform. Precision on the farm is when we carry out the activities on the farm wherever and whenever we want. The level of precision or perfection depends on the fact of who is carrying out the activities. We sure have achieved a higher level of precision in the past few years by the use of machines but still, they are operated by us, one of the many imperfect things on the farm. What about more precise farming? What if this imperfection we have is replaced by automation and tools like GIS, GPS, Satellite imaging, thermal imaging, drones, cameras, and farm power? Automation technology and precision tools combined together give an exactly perfect farming system if external factors don’t limit. We can achieve these things nowadays on our farm, increase or even multiply the precision we perform in farming and subsequently increase the production.
In fact, one example we can take in precision farming is the Farmbot designed by an engineer Rory Aronson, which performs the agricultural operations precisely with the help of scanners and cameras, treating each plant position as co-ordinates and memorizing them for further intercultural operations with a robotic arm. However, this technology comes on a small scale, for backyard farming and to produce organic food at home but a similar concept can be used for large farms. We can use similar structures on the large scale and achieve the same precision this machine has achieved. We can literally create a farm with robotic farmers that can produce foods in more quantity, more organic foods, and can feed the hungry world of the future. That technology, that idea, is the next big thing of agriculture and the future of the world.