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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Changing Dynamics of Agriculture with Technological Advancement

Agriculture: A source of living, science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. And well when I say science it means usage of modern technology in order to increase the yield of per hectare land. Technology and agriculture go hand in hand. As and when we are progressing, more and more expenditure is being done on research and development of new tools and techniques in order to increase the productivity of land along with the quality of crops produced. While in the 1900s in the USA 11 million agriculturists worked in order to feed 76 million people, these figures have drastically changed to 6.5 million agriculturists working to feed 321.4 million people in 2017 which has happened only because of increased utilization of new and better ways of cultivating.
Image Source: Analytics India Magazine
Day by Day the new inventions in agriculture sector in form of tools and implements or in form of software development which enables the farmers to have a real-time experience of their farms on their mobile have led to a wide change in the working pattern of farmers as well as also resulted in the ease of their working conditions. Technology is said to be a helping hand for humans and for human welfare. And, when it comes to agricultural sector various concepts like machine learning, Data science has come into the picture. Various kind of technological advancements that are used are discussed below:
1)  The machine known as Autonomous picker has been invented, which picks up strawberries after they grow fully, 2 times faster than any human who saves both time and energy of human agriculturist.
2)  Another technological advancement has been done by the invention of Drones. These drones weighing 4.7 pounds can fly for 1 hour covering a vast area of 800 acres helping the farmers to capture images of the farmlands row by row in order to find out various areas of the farm which need the attention of the farmer. The farmers know exactly which area in the farm needs attention and so that they can use insecticides only for those regions resulting in reducing the usage of pesticides and water and also by giving information about the weeds affecting the crop and how can they be cured. A company named Agrobotix has commercialised a software which helps in analyzing these drone captured infrared images and machine learning is regularly improving these system’s abilities to differentiate between various types of crops and weeds that affect them. Various other companies are also working on developing software to help farmers in practicing Big Data Analytics of all the images captured through space in order to benefit farmers at large scale.
3)  According to a UN report, 20%-40% of crops get destroyed due to pests and weeds. So, in order to protect the crops:

  • Robotic weed/pest Killers have been invented to perform the activity of insecticide spraying by judging the need for doing so in the infected area.
  • Organic farmers have started to use laser weed killing technology where the weeds/pests are killed using a laser in order to maintain the quality of the crop and to provide healthy crop to the consumers.

4)  Another invention that has been introduced is of Micro Sensors which enables the farmers to get a real-time data of the growth of the crop on their smart phones, helping them to know the exact time for harvesting and finding out any problem in the crops, if any.
5)  Robotic Soil Sampler is another invention which takes a sample of the soil, liquidizes it and analyses its pH and phosphorus levels in real time helping the farmers in crop growing process.

These are some inventions which I have mentioned but there are hundreds of such inventions enabling the farmers to improve their methods of production and increasing the land productivity. All these techniques not only help in easing the work of farmers but also have a huge impact in providing good quality crops with least impact of insecticides and pesticides on the crops which enables its consumers to live a healthy and chemical free diet.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the author's and not necessarily represent or reflect the views of DoT Club as a whole.

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