FARMER’S TAKE

AI in agriculture

BY CHELSEA HILL
Posted 9/13/22

Telephone, radio, TV, computers, cell phones, MP3 players, smartphones, smart watches, etc. The progression of technology used in our day-to-day lives has evolved so quickly in such a short amount of time.

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FARMER’S TAKE

AI in agriculture

Posted

Telephone, radio, TV, computers, cell phones, MP3 players, smartphones, smart watches, etc. The progression of technology used in our day-to-day lives has evolved so quickly in such a short amount of time. 

But what other areas has technology touched? Sure, everyone (or mostly everyone) has a smartphone or some sort of smart device in their home, but I think it’s easy to look over the extreme advancement that has happened in other industries, such as agriculture. 

With the daunting task of increasing the amount of food we produce globally by an estimated 50 percent in the next 30 years, the ag industry isn’t just sitting on its laurels, thinking we can handle that huge of an increase without any changes. No, I think the agricultural industry has been one of the earliest—other than the tech giants—to jump on these advanced technologies. 

I briefly think of the invention and utilization of tractors and steam power from years past, but now technology in agriculture looks very different. Take, for example, robotic milkers on dairy farms, drones for mapping and collecting data from crop fields, and automatic assembly lines in meat processing facilities. Or consider precision agricultural methods that use AI to scan for plant diseases or parasites; this lets us precisely dose and apply pesticides and insecticides. There are greenhouses that span over 50 acres, using hydroponic and aquaponic systems. 

Another huge advancement was announced earlier this year by the company John Deere: a completely autonomous tractor ready to head to the assembly lines.  And just a few short weeks ago, Case IH partnered with Raven Industries and released the first completely autonomous manure spreader. 

These specific advancements are the solution to one of the many challenges that all industries face: skilled labor. The ability to have a consistent, efficient and stable solution to this major problem will be the linchpin to achieving the production levels needed to feed so many people in the future. 

These machines can be run from a smartphone. Farm owners and employees will add to their repertoire the skills needed to run the machines and fix them, as well as learn the hard skills to perform all these tasks should technology fail, or if more unforeseen challenges pop up in the future. 

With less land each year available for food production, farmers have really had to face the old saying “work smarter, not harder,” and I think that many ag companies have jumped into these challenges. It’s this farmers’ take that AI is here to stay, especially in the ag industry—for the good, bad or indifferent. 

However, I strongly believe that we should not all fall into the trap of being 100 percent reliant on technology, because it can also fail. Our rich, strong history should never be forgotten or appreciated, as it’s what has led us to where we are today. 

ai, agriculture, technology

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