With the great ascending of the global population, there arises a crisis situation in the agricultural sector. Nothing to worry! Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the latent and much-needed solution to it.
Technologies possessing AI potency are getting more exposure and prevalent across a plethora of industries or verticals worldwide, such as in healthcare, transport and logistics, energy and now it’s the time for agriculture too.
Over the past AI period of the time, the expansion and growth of AI have intensified and strengthened agro-based businesses to extend more systematically and efficiently.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) prophesy, there will be an increase in world population by 2 billion from 6.8 billion to 9.1 billion by 2050, which concludes that the number of mouths to be fed will also increase by third more while the additional land area under cultivation would account to only 4% by then. This will eventually lead to an increase in demand for food production. According to the same UN survey, during the said time period, food production ought to increase by 70%. These challenges of population growth and food security, in addition to climate change disrupting growing seasons, turning soil proficient lands into deserts and floods, drive the agriculture industry towards pulling and seeking out more unconventional and novel approaches to protect and upgrade crop yield in order to scale up food production.
Moving in this direction, more efficient farming methods can be attained using modern technological advancements as a solution to current bottlenecks in farming. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of such technologies, direct application of which across the farming industry can act as an epitome of the shift in the way farming is practised. Yes, that’s true! AI-potent solutions let farmers to perform mundane tasks in a quick and result-oriented framework. It can help yield quality crops, control pests, and reduce workload, inspect soil conditions and refine a huge domain of agriculture-oriented routines in the whole food supply chain.
Let’s discuss the ways in which AI acts as a great agricultural revolution tool.
Optimizing Farming Information
The presence of the vast amount of information sources on the farm itself facilitates as an input to AI machine that processes the farm data to analyze and monitor a variety of parameters in real-time such as climate conditions, the temperature in the atmosphere, usage of water, soil fertility and many more and accordingly performs better decision-making. For instance, AI-powered technologies let farmers optimize the way they plan to produce abundant yields by determining suitable crops and seeds.
Not only in producing plentiful yields, but AI machines also extend its capabilities in improving the quality and accuracy of the harvest. This is famously referred to as precision agriculture. This culture of farming uses AI tool to detect pests, plant diseases and poor nutrition in plants. AI technology makes use of sensors which can detect and target the unwanted plants in the area and then decide the appropriate herbicides to apply within the affected area. This strategy aids in preventing the use of herbicides, pesticides and excessive toxins that makes a home in our food.
Change in weather plays an important role in crop production. Prediction of upcoming weather can contribute in a great way for farmers. This is what AI does. AI creates seasonal forecasting models that improve agricultural accuracy and thus, helps in increasing productivity. Such models predict the weather patterns and help farmers to make decision-making accordingly. Seasonal forecasting is quite an essential capability of AI technology that helps small scale farming in developing countries to be functional and operational as such small farms contribute 70% of the world’s crops.
Along with the data captured from the farm ground, farmers are also considering the data captured above the farm ground using drones. From drone flying over the fields, AI-powered cameras capture the images of the intended farm area and then analyzes the captured images in real-time. This analyzing of the data involves identifying the critical areas of the field and area of scope for the improvements. The data collated from the ground while being on the ground provides limited coverage, while unmanned drones have the ability to cover a vast area of land to be monitored frequently in much less time.
AI agricultural bots inflate the human labour workforce and help in harvesting crops at a higher volume and faster pace, identifying and eradicating weeds and reducing the costs for farms. In addition, the chatbots are also available to assist farmers for all their enquiries and provide advice and recommendations on the questions asked.
AI, with sensors, drones, robots and serious computer power, is giving farmers the tools they need to grow crops more endurably. It can help identify 26 plant diseases in 14 different species with 99% accuracy, can help equipment avoid obstacles and monitor plants to save water and can allow farmers to act quickly and minimize losses.