To contribute to vital ecosystem services and preserve Earth’s remaining wildlife, it is imperative we consume as little land as viable and to diminishing environmental footprint as much as possible.
To better cope with the rapid world-population growth, we will need a more efficient food production and distribution system which meets humanitarian needs. By all means, it’s a great challenge to achieve because, as statistics confirmed, around half of the world's inhabitable land is for agriculture of some kind, with a high percent of this used for livestock farming.
Believe it or not, today's farmers have incredibly tech know-how, as they are taking significant steps to keep pace with recent digital changes disrupting all industries. Their work is now entirely led by sensor machinery to make the job more manageable, but above all, to contribute both to these imperative-sustainable needs of food and the world warming.
What can you do as a farmer?
· Sustainability – Artificial Intelligence (AI) provides understandings on the way farmers could enhance equipment, boost planning whilst reducing waste, and support them to make their work more cost-efficient. By saving on water and power, farmers cope with the world demands for the preservation of the environment.
· Internet of Things (IoT) all around – Rural 5G connectivity could be an excellent tool for farmers because the more they are connected, the better. Each operation is controlled through sensors to handle work every single day efficiently; data from those sensors (weather sensors, to soil and water sensors,) is combined to take better decisions.
· Precision agriculture – This is a management concept that encompasses all the data from sensors, plus any suggestion coming from Machine Learning (ML) which results on a supervision viewpoint for the farm. It even focuses on areas of harvest-land to adjust water needs, as well as fertiliser distribution. This type of management is getting closer to supervise also plant by plant.
· Self-driving tractors use not only GPS support but ML too - through telemetrics and by the use of computer vision, to grasp a full image of where the rows locate and if it's the better time to plant, spray or harvest. For example, drones are useful tools to spray fertilisers if needed.
· Replacement of labour requirements. Farm occupation has been consistently declining since it might be a lack of workers, high salaries going higher, or labourers decision to move to urban zones. Tech is there to replace such vacancies. How? By covering the job with fewer workers who can manage more acres using the ultimate innovations tools, whilst avoiding cropland from being under-exploited.
According to some recent studies, the coming years will be the time in which people would move away from meat and dairy consumption. The causes are their change of diet that rejects mainly animal products, arguing the animals slaughtered for human consumption and the exceeding feeding of animals with synthetic hormones or chemical fertilisers used. For the most part, it’s the effects those practices bring to the soil, as well as to humans. Dairy, eggs, meat, and aquaculture not only imply proteins and calories in our diet, but it's mainly the use of significant extensions of land and different emissions in food processes the consequences of such effects.
LAST COMMENTS: The benefits of this change in Agriculture are many, from reducing the over-use of global farmland, and diminishing food-greenhouse gas emissions.
AI, autonomous machines and sensors combined, are now offering essential benefits to Agriculture. However, it will take time to make the necessary changes, especially at developing countries, to deploying emerging technologies for the sake of an efficient transformation of global land-use patterns; but then again, no doubt farmers have now an ever more critical responsibility to engage on the World's sustainability.
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