Satellites and drones equipped with cameras, for example, may provide high-resolution photographs of arable fields, enabling farmers to see yield trends over wide areas. On the ground, sensors can be installed in tractors, combine harvesters, and planting machines to collect real-time data on soil quality and crop height changes.
FREMONT, CA: An increasing number of agricultural technology start-ups are focused on adopting new innovations to the challenging farming industry. Many of these developments increase yields, minimize waste and resource usage, and strengthen farming sustainability. Furthermore, most of them do so by capturing and analyzing data, which is becoming increasingly useful. Some of these data are visual. Satellites and drones equipped with cameras, for example, may provide high-resolution photographs of arable fields, enabling farmers to see yield trends over wide areas. On the ground, sensors can be installed in tractors, combine harvesters, and planting machines to collect real-time data on soil quality and crop height changes.
On the farm, digital technology can boost productivity and environmental sustainability by reducing the waste of essential resources like water. Farmers will change their systems during the growing season, including increasing or decreasing irrigation to reach moisture levels such that water is only used where it is required, thanks to sensors installed in the soil. Of course, automation is not the only weapon for ensuring food security. There is a growing consensus that conventional farming and agroecology practices will enhance soil quality, conserve water, minimize GHG emissions, increase food yields, and create a more fair-trading system.
Furthermore, agriculture's digitalization raises ethical concerns. Some people are worried about who controls the data generated by smart farming and who has access to it. Others contend that global agribusinesses' ability to collect large volumes of data on farmland output gives them an edge over smaller, independent farmers who do not have such access. Some businesses are working on solutions to this issue. For example, in the United States, one firm based provides farmers with digital tools, including agricultural data analytics and real-time updates.
These techniques make it easy to handle risk by helping them to remain on top of extreme conditions like low moisture, strong winds, or frosts. Solutions like this will become more relevant as farmers gain access to technology like artificial intelligence, big data, and analytics. Given the daunting task of feeding an ever-increasing population without putting unnecessary pressure on the planet's resources, digital technologies—particularly those that are available to all producers—will be crucial to achieving a sustainable food system.