What do you picture when you think of agriculture? Farmers tilling their fields and harvesting crops by hand? Quaint tractors rolling across green fields? Many people falsely assume that agriculture is still living in the past. In reality, farmers are more reliant on automated technology than ever before.
Continuous advancement has transformed today’s agriculture. Nearly all farmers have adopted sophisticated farm automation technology—including various robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions—to adapt and thrive in a fast-paced modern agriculture landscape.
No one can deny that farming is the lifeblood of any society. But farmers are facing extreme challenges including climate change, population growth, land shortages, and much more. Therefore, all leaders in the Ag Tech industry must continue to innovate and create new technologies that make farming more efficient, sustainable, and profitable.
So, what does the future of agriculture technology look like? And where can industry leaders go to brainstorm new solutions to emerging problems? Are gatherings like an Ag Tech conference the solution to improved ideation and innovation? Let’s find out.
What Are the Advantages of Automation in Agriculture?
The high-level advantage of relying on automation in agriculture is increased efficiency. Machines and automated software solutions are fast, consistent, and can function 24/7. All of these advantages foster improved productivity and allow farmers to save on labor costs as well as focus on other important tasks throughout their operations. Additionally, introducing automated solutions into agriculture has greatly improved working conditions and sustainability across the board.
According to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, specific benefits of smart farming automation include:
- Increased crop yield
- Decreased use of water, fertilizer, and pesticides, which in turn keeps food prices down
- Reduced impact on natural ecosystems
- Chemical runoff prevention
- Increased worker safety
- Greater efficiencies and lower prices
- Improved monitoring and management of natural resources
- Safer growing conditions and foods
- Improved control over plant and animal production
How Can AI Change the Future of Agriculture?
Although AI is beneficial in many capacities, this technology particularly shines when used for crop monitoring. Employing AI technology, farmers can easily monitor their crops and make adjustments to their operations depending on shifting weather patterns and other environmental changes. This is especially important when planning for the impact of climate change.
As more and more parts of the world are likely to experience intense drought and other extreme weather, agricultural leaders need access to accurate and timely crop data. This information is vital in order to adjust and optimize their planting strategies presently and in the future. AI-powered robots are also being used to inspect crops, while automated sprinkler systems are used to both water and fertilize.
For all of these reasons and more, AI has become a staple technology for most Ag operations around the world. In fact, Forbes reported that there are approximately 200 AI-based agricultural startups in the U.S. alone.
What Are the Three Roles Robots Will Play in the Future of Farming?
When discussing how robots are changing the farming industry, The Smithsonian gave three examples:
- Fruit Harvesting | It is often difficult to source enough workers to harvest fruit. This means many farmers fall behind and existing farmhands are overworked. Using robotic harvesters for a farm, operations are optimized without putting too much strain on additional workers whose capabilities are better used elsewhere.
- Pulling Weeds | Weed pullers are an excellent example of indispensable automated farming equipment. The most intelligent weeding robots can identify the center of a crop and ensure that the plant is not disturbed while eliminating the weeds in the surrounding area. This is beneficial for the same reasons as automated fruit harvesting; it saves money, time, and is ultimately more accurate than manual weed pulling.
- Crop Monitoring | In addition to boots-on-the-ground AI sensor tools, many farmers are using drones to provide a bird’s eye view of their crops. This empowers farmers to receive and analyze data for thousands of acres, which allows them to make informed decisions surrounding planting, harvesting, and more.
How Can the Agriculture Industry Continue to Innovate?
Let’s face it, innovative ideas do not thrive in a vacuum. In order for Ag Tech to continuously bring value to the farming industry, companies must think outside the box and expand their horizons. Connecting with leaders in other business sectors sparks the inspiration for new inventions and helps agricultural leaders find solutions for previously unsolvable problems.
But where can agriculture technology experts connect with other leading technological minds? That’s where Rally comes in.
The Rally Innovation Conference brings together business leaders, investors, venture capitalists, and industry experts from six key technology industries to improve ideation across the board. These industries are:
- Agand Food
In addition to meeting and learning from other talented industry leaders, here’s a brief overview of what Rally has to offer:
- Keynote speakers, interactive workshops and multiple content panels for all six industries
- Demo arena to highlight your business and projects
- Five pitch competitions where the winners will each receive a $1 million investment
- One-on-one meetings with industry investors who are actively looking for deal flow
What do you say? Ready to learn and earn? If so, get registered for Rally today.