Trends in Technology

Technological Breakthroughs That are Reshaping Farming and Agriculture

December 9, 2019 by Bobby J Davidson
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Technology is transforming farming at a rapid pace. New pesticide and fertilizer technology as well as apps developed specifically for the farmer, is helping the sector to become more productive and efficient than ever.

On the other hand, technological development in the agricultural sector is booming. In the last few years, investments in agritech have reached new heights. In 2018, investments in agriculture tech increased by 40% to reach $17 billion which is almost six times the investment amount in 2012.

There’s massive potential for advancing both farming and agriculture with the help of new technologies. Some examples are solving problems of the crop with real-time monitoring, using intelligent software to select the best herbicide for unwanted vegetation and for creating products that are developed with the local population in mind. Here, we will look at some of the technological breakthroughs that are reshaping farming and agriculture. We will start with the farming sector.

How Technology Is Changing and Advancing Farming

Recent technological trends, such as automation and precision farming, have changed how farming is done. As a result, farmers have had to adapt their practices. Additionally, it has had implications for companies that provide farming equipment as well as non-traditional players such as digital services providers.

They’ve all had to change their strategies and develop new capabilities to gain a competitive advantage in an evolving industry. Now, they have to consider even more technological breakthroughs for reshaping farming and agriculture. What are the technological breakthroughs reshaping the farming sector? Let’s find out.

1.     Internet of Things

Often ignored as a use case for IoT, smart farming is unlike the traditional IoT areas of application such as mobility, health, and industrial. However, IoT could potentially revolutionize farming as it allows the monitoring of livestock and enables remote farming operations. While smart farming is still to be widely adopted, it will have an important application in the future, especially in countries whose economies depend on agricultural production.

2.     The Convergence of Current and Emerging Technology

In the coming future, we will witness pesticide companies work alongside developers of biotechnology products. We will also see these two joining hands with companies that offer data technology products and services. The outcome? Cost efficiencies and shorter development cycles for the farming industry.

3.     Change in Farming Structures

In the next decade or so, farming structures will change completely and this change will be driven mainly by new technology. We will see technology-enabled sharing of farming equipment and labor as well as the sourcing of farming services on an as-needed basis.

How Technology will Transform Agriculture

While many new technologies are helping to make the agriculture industry more efficient and productive, the following are the two technological breakthroughs that could potentially transform the sector.

1.     IoT

This is somewhat related to smart farming. The world’s population continues to increase each day and with it, increases the demand for food supply. To increase food production, governments are helping the agriculture industry to use advanced research and technique. The introduction of IoT in agriculture is part of the effort. With IoT, agriculturists are extracting meaningful insights that help them get better yields. All this is helping increase food production while boosting the agriculture industry.

2.     Blockchain

The biggest advantage of using blockchain in the agriculture sector is understanding the produce’s source and journey. This can benefit both farmers and consumers. Farmers can negotiate better prices throughout the supply chain and consumers and know the exact source of the produce they buy. This could be a game-changer for the agriculture industry when you consider the growing lack of trust in the sourcing of produce sold in markets.

There is great potential to improve transparency and traceability within agriculture value chains using the blockchain technology. Blockchain’s ability to trace the source of food products could be invaluable during incidents of contamination. Regulators can use blockchain technology to quickly identify the source of contaminants and figure out the affected products’ scope. There are several benefits of a timelier response by food companies including limiting food waster, preventing illness, and containing financial fallout.

Blockchain can enable the development of a tracking system that is more accessible and easier to query. This will minimize the time required by the authorities and organizations to find sources of food contamination.

Another problem facing the agriculture sector that blockchain could potentially solve is food wastage. Of all the food farmed, a good percentage is wasted which costs the food industry almost a trillion dollars per year. Food spoilage along the supply chain can be minimized with the blockchain technology since blockchain transactions can be completed faster and are less likely to be disputed. Moreover, they can help to identify bottlenecks that contribute to spoilage.

The additional transparency afforded by blockchain models could help to overcome food fraud. Fraudulent labeling is on the rise as more and more consumers demand organic and GMO and antibiotic-free food. When paired with IoT technologies, such as sensors and RFID tags, blockchain allows efficiently monitoring and communication of the smallest transactions across the supply chain whether they are performed at the farm, warehouse, or factory.

Maersk, a shipping and logistics company, has supply chains spanning continents that involve hundreds of personnel and interactions. The company believes that it could save billions with blockchain as the technology is known to improve efficiencies that minimize fraud and human error.

The increased transparency in blockchain benefits all market participants and the technology can help prevent delayed payments and price extortion while simultaneously eliminating intermediaries and reducing transaction fees. This results in fairer pricing and can even help some farmers to capture a significant percentage of their crop value. There you have it—the technological breakthroughs that are reshaping farming and agriculture. To stay updated with technological developments in farming and agriculture as they happen, keep following us.

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