Tech in agriculture is opening up new opportunities
If we just look at the agri-tech lingo, where in earlier days farmers used to talk about fertilizers, pesticides, water pumps, and maybe solar panels. Today, farmers talk about sensors, robots, drones, images, big data, and artificial intelligence.
Agri-tech becomes a necessity when looking at the near future of population growth, sizes of farmlands and climate change. For decades, people have left traditional agriculture and migrated to cities in search of a better life. Yet, despite its challenges, agriculture has its large importance and a natural charm.
The way agriculture evolved in the last 10 years says a lot about the transition that has been happening in the field. If we just look at the agri-tech lingo, where in earlier days farmers used to talk about fertilizers, pesticides, water pumps, and maybe solar panels. Today, farmers talk about sensors, robots, drones, images, big data, artificial intelligence, in conjunction with a lot of computing in the backend. Sensors, embedded in the soil, tells the computer the moisture content present in the soil, and the computer, in turn, tells you how much to water and when. There comes precision.
Even though agri-tech trends are importing lots of technical tools into the field, accessibility and user integration becomes better and better. Smart-ag products are evolving fast to become even more precise, likewise, to enable more users in the agri-food supply chain. New technologies are working to be more accessible for people with a technical knowledge background, as well as people that still don't dominate the 'technical world'.
The benefits are innumerous, for example, if you have a large farm and a small corner gets infected with some disease. In old days, with traditional agriculture, you wouldn’t know until the disease has spread all over. Today, with images generated from dedicated satellites or drones, the computer easily identifies the malaise that has just begun. And if yours is a smart-farm, a robot is already on its way to snip away parts of the sick plant which is infected, without compromising other crop parts.
Big data analytics and predictive analytics can alert farmers to problems that are likely to rise in the open field or greenhouses such as pests, diseases, or even climatic changes.
Importance of tech in agriculture
There are two imperatives that drive agriculture into the hands of technology. The first is the need to produce more food. In 30 years, the world is going to have to feed two billion more people. According to estimates, there is only a scope of a 4 per cent increase in farmlands to be able to do that. This results in a state where you have to produce more with less land and other inputs. Only technology can deliver that.
The second is the negative cumulative effect of climate change. The traditional way of practicing agriculture will only add to the problem. Again, the imperatives of climate change forces mankind to produce more with less.
Sensoterra is a technology leader based in Amsterdam, helping growers in agriculture, landscaping and smart cities since 2014. When working with Sensoterra soil moisture sensors, growers start to respect soil necessity for water, at the active root zone, other than traditional techniques that can cause misinterpretation. Data don't lie, on the contrary, it reduces under- and over-irrigation problems leading to reduction of fertilizers and pesticides, less pests, healthier roots, healthier plants, optimal yield to scale up with 'more for less'.
Sensoterra have been helping growers to understand the particularities of each crop, and how moisture regimes need to be interpreted in order to reach maximum yield with healthier soils. Our case studies portfolio approach landscapers, agriculture, horticulture, smart cities and many other projects. Why not starting today?
Caroline is a Soil Data Manager at Sensoterra. Previously, she worked as a laboratory analyst, responsible for data analysis of roots and soil, identifying pesticide contamination and plant accumulation. Her background is in Environmental Science, with a Masters's degree in Water & Environment from Radboud University.Get in touch