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    Technology: The future of agriculture

    Future of Agriculture

    The practices in the agricultural sector go back to the historic Neolithic era that was initiated almost 10,000 years ago. After taking the proper shape of agricultural farming in the 1930s; with advances in new methodologies that helped farmers increase their production, this sector has seen rapid development ever since. The agricultural sector reached a defining moment, in the 1900s when the horse-drawn plough gave way to machinery and the 1st steam-powered engine tractor was introduced, soon making way for the greatest revolution of human history- The industrial revolution.

    The gradual advent of agricultural technology in the past 40 years made it possible for all farmers, across the globe to produce surplus food for millions of consumers that depend on them. Many OBU thesis writing help services suggest that a technological revolution in farming, led by advances in robotics has not only changed its entire level of production but also made us question the need and extent of direct human involvement required by this sector.

    The importance of agricultural technology

    The introduction of agricultural technology has had expediential impacts on our lives and has given an upper hand to farmers in making higher yielding and better quality crops; consisting of much greater variety. The technological advancements have greatly decreased the use of water, fertilizers, and pesticides, aiding in reduced food prices. All these have collectively reduced air and water pollution, giving a positive impact on the ecosystem and a sense of increased sustainability.

    The direct contact of farmers with chemical fertilizers would previously cause respiratory concerns, which have been eradicated to a great extent; with higher levels of research being done towards ensuring worker safety. New technologies allow the farmers to control their production, manage their natural resources and have substantial control over their production, processing, distribution, and storage.

    Applications of robotic technology

    Robotic technology has bought with it great applications that benefit the level and ease of performance in the variant tasks involved in this sector, which would previously exhaust human labor of their time and energy.

    Listed below are some of the major advantages of these agricultural robotic innovations:

    1. Speed and accuracy

    The robots that have been introduced can achieve the completion of work that would previously take us long durations- lasting many months. The Dr. Adrish believes that they also tend to reduce water wastage in the process of leaving the low-quality crops behind.

    Features like an advanced vision system allow harvesting of delicate products; picking them without any damage and avoiding human-errors in the process. Not only do they allow greater efficiency in this task, but are also do it at a faster rate.

    2. Crop seedling

    Traditionally, the process of spreading seeds on the ground would be done randomly by hand. With the advancements in technology, this process is done with greater precision, as it combines robotics with geo-mapping; a map showing the quality, density, moisture content and other topographical features that are extremely beneficial for a deeper understanding of the soil being used for seed growth.

    3. Crop monitoring and analysis

    In recent years, the use of drones is becoming increasingly popular among modern large scale farmers, to get deeper insights into the land being used. They are being promoted by government schemes to increase the productivity of the crop by making pre-planned layouts of the entire production land, in accordance with information regarding the climatic conditions and water availability.

    The ‘Precision-Hawk’ is one such drone that is commercially used by farmers as it offers them combined packages having robotic hardware and analysis software, allowing them to control each step of their production on scientific facts, instead of assumptions.

    4. Fertilization and irrigation

    A general issue with agriculture that farmers in the previous years would face would be the huge amount of water losses involved, which would increase their costs. Today; however, robot-assisted precision irrigation has been introduced; reducing water wastage by targeting specific plants instead of spreading it aimlessly.

    Some crop populations are so dense that fertilizing them can be a great hassle and to reduce this issue, ‘ground robots' have been introduced that can easily fit into small spaces and fertilize the bases of unexposed lands that hide below such plants.

    5. Crop spraying

    The toxic chemicals present in the pesticide are not only harmful to the environment but, to the person actively performing this task as well. To tackle this rising issue affecting both parties, the AG Bot II has been developed- A solar-powered robot that uses the concept of micro-spraying the crops directly instead of randomly doing this.

    The Robo-cop is another robot that assists this task by using computer vision to detect plants that have pesticides attached or any other crop disease that requires the farmer’s immediate attention. Many other laser robots are also present that aim to annihilate weed growth; the wild crops that desert the land nutrients by soaking them up.

    6. Thinning and pruning

    It is extremely crucial to reducing the density of the crops grown, in order to allow a better chance of their growth. The complexities of this task have been greatly reduced by inventions like ‘Lettuce Bot’, which is a thinning robot that has also received an award for being an outstanding product in the ‘innovations in agriculture’ category.

    The process of pruning in vineyards would previously involve great patience and skilled labor in previous years, but today, robots like ‘Wall-Ye’ have made this relatively easier to not only prune but also collect and process them as required.

    7. Autonomous tractors

    Although the mainstream tractors used today are semi-autonomous,  work was later started to improve them to the status of fully autonomous tractors.  It was reported that more than 300,000 autonomous tractors were sold in 2016.

    Taking this idea to practical levels, the exceptional ‘IDTechEX' agricultural robots were introduced which has completely re-defined the use of tractors in farming. These tractors have follow-the-leader autonomy that makes them follow human-driven harvesters to collect grains and many such products.

    8. Picking and harvesting

    The task of harvesting requires great skills that come with experience, as the stakes of losing the products are high. To reduce the probability of human errors affecting this crucial and manual dexterity, robots have been developed in recent years, along with more prospects on their way.

    Taking all this into consideration, the European Union (EU) funded ‘Clever robots’ for crop projects that aimed to make progress on harvesting applications.

    Concluding, it is quite evident that the introduction of agricultural technology has proved to be extremely beneficial to cater to the growing industrial population that consumes it today. Incorporating such alien technologies in the lives of conventional farmers can be a difficult task, but their potency urges us to use them to reach the zenith, with the collaborative efforts of Government e and awareness programs, -quality production.

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