Technology is advancing faster than we could have ever imagined. Across industries, new tools are being developed and released each day to boost efficiency, improve safety, increase profits and create innovative ways to communicate, navigate, conduct business and simply get the job done. Farming, one of the world’s oldest and most respected professions, is among those constantly experiencing change.
In the world of farming and agriculture, emerging technologies are carving paths for greater opportunities. According to McKinsey, the agriculture industry must embrace a digital transformation enabled by connectivity in order to thrive. However, this field remains less digitized when compared to others. Though advances have been mostly mechanical (e.g., more powerful machinery) and genetic (e.g., better seeds and fertilizers), more complex digital tools are necessary for future improvement. In fact, only about 25 percent of American farms currently use any connected “smart” equipment or devices to access data and perform tasks. And with Wisconsin being home to more than 64,000 farms – more than any other state – there is plenty of room for growth and prosperity.
Here are a few agriculture technology trends that are helping modern farmers make better, faster and smarter decisions and shaping the future of farming.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is, essentially, the ability of a computer to imitate capabilities of the human mind and actions of the human body. AI computers are able to learn and apply facts and processes, recognize objects, understand language and solve problems in order to successfully perform humanlike functions, per IBM. In farming, AI has the power to increase revenues, boost resource efficiencies and improve sustainability, according to McKinsey.
AI has several competencies, including predicting which crops will deliver the highest returns. Forbes reports that AI helps farmers analyze a variety of real-time and future data to make more informed decisions, including weather and temperature forecasting, water usage and soil conditions. AI helps farmers optimize their planning in order to generate a better harvest by determining crop choices and resource utilization. AI also helps to harvest crops at a higher volume and faster rate than humans – thereby reducing labor and yielding more accurate results.
Drones aren’t just for photographers! These hovering robots also help farmers surveil large areas and gather data to create important insights about their farms from virtually anywhere. Drones are used in farming to provide more frequent, cost-effective remote monitoring of crops and livestock. They’re also able to analyze field conditions and drop proper interventions such as fertilizers, nutrients and pesticides where necessary (via McKinsey).
Autonomous Farming Machinery
Precise, self-operating machinery and robots can perform everyday tasks based on global positioning system (GPS) and imagery analysis – which are aimed at optimizing resources, reducing labor and boosting harvests. With GPS controls and computerized sensors, farmers are able to operate equipment on their fields without human intervention, therefore saving time and resources. Importantly, these autonomous machines are more efficient at working a field than ones controlled by people.
At the end of the day, technologies help produce healthy crops, control pests, monitor soil and develop a range of farming-oriented tasks. These disruptive trends will aid the industry in overcoming challenges.
Contact your Rural Mutual agent to determine the best insurance for your farming needs and to learn more about agriculture technology.
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