Scientific discoveries and technological novelties greatly assist agribusiness, making it faster, more accurate, cost-effective, and efficient. At the disposal of present-day farmers, there are eco-friendly techniques, smart machinery and robots, resilient planting materials, and advanced sensors.
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New Technologies in Farming
Agriculture has witnessed numerous innovations within the recent decade, mainly regarding smart farming, blockchain technology, farm automation, artificial intelligence, and livestock production. Technology implementations speed up field activities and let agriculturalists focus on more strategic tasks.
Smart solutions allow farmers to exactly understand the crop needs and plan activities correspondingly, which saves costs and reduces environmental pollution with chemicals. Modern analytical tools provide farmers with useful information:
- Values of vegetation indices indicate the crop’s state.
- The field zoning feature shows what areas require the most treatment judging from their productivity.
- Variable fertilizer rates give precise nutrient amounts for each area.
- Weather forecasts help schedule field operations and mitigate crop loss and chemical leakage risks.
- Historical weather enables tracking meteorological trends in the area and more.
The blockchain network can improve agricultural business thanks to its decentralization and transparency. In particular, blockchain is highly credible because it includes only verified data. Besides, each stakeholder can add their information and track it in real time, which contributes to traceability.
Traceability in the food production industry matters because it is critical to deliver yields before they spoil and understand who is to blame if contamination occurs.
Also, the blockchain framework secures payment transactions and can help analyze the supply-demand correlation in the food production chain.
Farm Automation (Robots&Machinery)
Automated farming equipment demands minimum people’s participation:
- Robots can greatly assist or even completely replace humans in seeding, weeding, or harvesting.
- Automated irrigation systems switch on and off at the pre-scheduled time.
- Smart GPS machinery helps avoid missed areas or overlapping in the field treatment.
- UAVs record what is happening on the farm from the sky. Besides, drones are efficiently used for crop pollination and spraying.
Remote sensing allows monitoring fields in near real time, and AI-powered analytics provide valuable farmland insights. Data interpretation covers multiple parameters, signaling crop needs by reporting on soil moisture, current and upcoming weather, vegetation state, among many more functionalities.
This way, farmers can know if things go wrong – even without necessarily driving to the field. They can do it from home, at the office, or being on the way, from a PC or mobile gadget – on condition of internet connection. Then, farmers can assign tasks to scouts to inspect the field and identify the problem.
Livestock breeding is performed on cattle, dairy, and poultry farms that were operated with traditional methods for long. Nowadays, the branch can also benefit from digital innovations and data-driven analytics for farm monitoring and management, record keeping, cattle feeding, milking, etc.In particular, digital sensors connected to animals inform about their activity, needs and health, helping to notice and isolate sick animals in time.
Science contributes to livestock raising with efficient nutritional techniques as well as stronger and more productive breeds. Thanks to genetic researched in genomics, livestock growers understand genetic risks and ways to boost farm production.
Relationship between Science and Modern Farming
Today, farming merges many sciences like geology, geography, biology, zoology, chemistry, physics, ecology, veterinary practice, engineering, computing, and more. Yet, while advanced implementations boost agricultural productivity and sustainability, the traditional knowledge in farming can’t be denied.
Classification of Agricultural Sciences
Presently, modern agriculture benefits from multiple science-based applications, giving rise to new disciplines. The most important among them are as follows:
- Soil science studies soil composition, quality, fertility, texture, types, structure, measures of soil conservation and erosion prevention.
- Plant production deals with crop growing: vegetation nutrition and fertilization, pest and weed management, disease control, phenological (growth) stages, crop types, and more.
- Animal breeding outlines the specifics of cattle, dairy, and poultry farm operations (feeding, raising, disease prevention and treatment, etc.).
- Farm economics and management helps farmers effectively organize employees’ work and run their businesses from buying seeds to harvesting and selling yields.
- Agriculture-related construction and engineering deal with farm equipment, tools, machinery, and buildings.
- Law deals with the legal side of farming.
Population Growth as a Main Factor of Change
Increasing the planet’s population requires more and more food, which means a rise in agricultural productivity. On the one hand, people need more farming products but on the other hand, they must be able to get them for long, with availability for the next generations. It is possible without soil depletion, devastating slash-and-burn practices, irrational use of non-renewable resources, and implementation of sustainable scientifically-based practices.
This is why more food supplies must not involve more land cultivation, for example, not at the cost of forest cuts but with the least harm to nature. On the contrary, long-term land exploitation can be secured with sustainable agricultural practices like regenerative and organic farming. Precision agriculture with differentiated chemical applications allows minimizing environmental pollution.
How Science and Technology Contributes to Sustainability
This is where science can help agriculture with systematic researches to find nature-sparing and thus more sustainable alternatives to intensive farming that will help keep soil fertility for long. In particular, scientifically grounded approaches to land cultivation like no-till farming, soil solarization and aeration, biological methods of pest and weed control help avoid chemical applications that poison humans and nature.
Science also provides advanced equipment and smart machinery boosting agricultural productivity and efficiency. Digital farming facilitates farm management and helps farmers grow more while spending less.
Thus, by using scientific methods and advanced technological innovations, agronomists can increase farm productivity with the possibility of long-term land use.
Science, technology, and agriculture have an interesting correlation. While scientific and technological advancements improve current farming practices, agricultural challenges nurture scientists’ zest for yet more beneficial contributions in the future.