Accelerating evolution with agri-tech ―a sustainable and profitable path to a better world

Agriculture is a prominent sector of humanity that has been deeply affected by climate change. One of the oldest craft ships is still providing food and fabric, but on a large scale that hasn’t been adjusted in accordance with the demand. The world’s state has changed drastically in the past decades, triggering severe floods, droughts and wildfires. This leaves millions of people without food or living in dangerous conditions, and the situation is expected to expand globally. 

Luckily, technology can help us take a turn and evolve into a better life. It’s called agri-tech, and it shapes the agriculture industry into a developed sector in which resources are used efficiently, farming practices are sustainable, and automation is standard. 

The technology is already here, there’s only the need for experts to step into the game to elevate their businesses and contribution to the world. 

Technologies involved in agri-tech infrastructure 

Blending technology with fieldwork is the only way to bring efficiency within this sector. The piece that’s missing involves funding these innovations because there are more professionals who contribute to the process. For instance, you might need qualitative machine pieces and other products made through structural foam moulding when using automatization and robotics in your agriculture company. This process requires product specifications and specific types of plastic to get the right thing. 

This is also the case for precision agriculture, a method based on data about the soil, weather and crop health that’s used to forecast conditions and requirements to get better crops. Someone who’s working with data must create reports that will be the foundation of a proper strategy for preparing the soil, planning and caring for the crops until they reach maturity. 

Greenhouse horticulture is part of sustainable farming and helps reduce waste with accurate data that translates into suitable water and fertiliser usage. Of course, greenhouses might need climate control during colder months, so reaching out to an injection moulding company for heat recovery systems is required. 

Farmers and collaborators need an improved skill set 

Typically, as agriculture requires new methods and strategies for providing more crops and lowering their environmental damage, people must also transform their skill sets and add capabilities valuable in today’s world. For instance, one of the most essential know-how for farmers involves digital literacy to help them use digital tools and advanced machinery, making their work easier and faster. 

Handling data analysis is also essential, although it might not be that easy to master or prioritise. However, a farmer who knows data analysis can easily and rapidly interpret data taken from nature and adapt their approaches and practices immediately. Hence, this skill improved the decision-making process, also known as the DDS (decision support system), in which compound data and microbe data are taken advantage of. 

Of course, working with technology isn’t always easy, so farmers must also develop their problem-solving response to troubleshoot tech issues, for instance. At the same time, interpreting data might be prone to bias, meaning that a strategic decision should be based on more than the raw data. 

Agri-tech and the problem of supply chain management

Indeed, a good-working supply chain is almost impossible to reach in any industry, especially a massive one like agriculture. Sometimes, other sectors’ supply chain scarcity affects agriculture. For instance, current labour shortages lead to unharvested fresh produce, leaving farmers with limited solutions for making any profit. The shortage of raw materials is another challenge for producers since amino acids for livestock feed have become difficult to get. 

Besides, transporting produce from the farm to the customers needs some improvement, for which technological advancements like tracking devices can be implemented. The processing and distribution stages in the agricultural supply chain can be better managed with agri-tech with IoT (Internet of Things), which enables farmers and small businesses to optimise their operations. 

Artificial Intelligence for large-scale and small-scale farming 

AI is already used in numerous industries, from healthcare to education, and it can surely be introduced to agriculture soon when farmers have already mastered the ways of technology and are ready for new challenges. 

A few AI areas can successfully be introduced in agriculture and are already used in some countries. Computer Vision, for instance, is efficient in the following areas:

  • Monitoring of the crop and soil through UAV drones that photograph the area. Computer vision models then analyse the images to make predictions about the yields’ health so the farmer can make better decisions;
  • Automatic wedding is possible by blending computer vision technology to monitor weeds and machine learning tools used to de-weed the areas in need. Hence, this technology reduces manual intervention and costs;

Intelligent sensors have been also introduced in agriculture through aeroponics, a system controlling the crops’ nutrients, temperature parameters and PH. Sensors can also fault detections and correct mistakes remotely, removing the need for the farmer to make constant manual labour. 

AI sensors might efficiently predict crop diseases and apply specific insecticides in the appropriate quantities at the right time. Especially during their early stages, crops are sensitive to pathogen bacteria, viruses and fungi. Still, the possibility of developing a disease depends on the soil’s quality, moisture amount, and extreme temperatures. 

With AI, farmers can seize the symptoms of regular or rare crop diseases in less time and take measures as fast as possible, minimising losses and risks for the disease to spread. So, whether it’s based on satellite-derived data or susceptibility monitoring, crop management is more manageable with AI and could considerably improve the supply of fresh and healthy produce, supporting farmers to continue their work. 

Final considerations 

Agri-tech is the future of agriculture, a future in which there are almost no dead crops, produce is delivered in sustainable ways, and the soil is taken care of without too much effort. The technology is mainly based on automation, taking information from the location and transforming it into valuable data for the farmer to use as a strategy for improving its crops and approaches.