As the years go by, agricultural systems advance, making day-to-day chores easier for farmers, making the system faster and therefore increasing the number of end products. There have been many advancements in technology, most of which are used in smart farms.
Smart farming in general terms is managing a farm using modern technology and information to increase both the quantity and quality of end products, and optimizing the human labor needed for the process. One popular example is precision livestock farming. In this case, farmers can raise animals alongside technology that constantly gathers specific information about each animal.
Usually, the field is divided into smaller parts, allowing the treatments for each division to be unique. This information can be used to improve management practices, closely monitor the health and production of each animal and increase the overall production of the farm.
Other technologies used are drones (for land imaging, soil monitoring, monitoring livestock movement, etc.), satellites (for assessing soil health, monitoring moisture level in soil, etc.) and artificial intelligence (for weed and pest control, health monitoring, etc.).
There are many advantages of this technology that can be used for a wide range of purposes. One is increasing and promoting sustainability. For example, using artificial intelligence can help predict the most practical course of action for solving a problem on your farm before attempting any other practices first. In this case, farmers can immediately take action and improve their business while being sustainable.
Other advantages include advanced monitoring of the environment and livestock, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, optimized production, reduced labor and minimized financial costs.
Smart farming can also take advantage of predicted weather forecasts. Knowing the future weather can help with scheduling planting, irrigation and harvesting.
In terms of the disadvantages of smart farming technology, some concerns exist. Having your farm monitored through artificial intelligence, drones, satellites or any other high-tech systems increases the likelihood of the information about your farm getting out to the public or competitors. It also requires you to understand how to use these resources and be able to get assistance if there is a problem in the system.
There have also been claims of uneven water distribution and a lack of flexibility in the system. Setting up technological systems in the first place also tends to take up a lot of time and resources, even if it may be worth it in the end.
As the population of the world increases, and the demand for agricultural products increases in proportion, developing smart farm techniques will assist farmers in staying ahead of the product demand. However, some tough considerations have to be made before making this switch.
by Kelsi Devolve