The world’s current population is projected to increase from 7.2 billion to 9.6 billion in the next 30 years. Likewise, the global agriculture analytics market is projected to increase by $651 million from 2018 to 2023. Traditional commercial farming practices have worked effectively to get us to where we are today – but farmers will need to be creative in how they utilize their farmland efficiently and effectively. Farmers are looking to agtech (agriculture technology) for innovative solutions to help feed our growing population.
What Is Precision Ag?
According to PrecisionAg.com, precision agriculture (also known as precision ag or precision farming) is “managing crop production inputs (seed, fertilizer, lime, pesticides, etc.) on a site-specific basis to increase profits, reduce waste, and maintain environmental quality.” Oftentimes, those who practice precision ag will utilize technology or software solutions to increase productivity and efficiency.
Examples of technology that aid precision farming are:
- GPS tractors – self-steering tractors used to precisely care for crops and allows farmers to work better in low-visibility conditions.
- Soil Sensors – provides data to help farmers take real-time action during bad field conditions
- Variable Rate Technolgy (VRT) – technology to manage crops & produce at varying rates
Think farming is exempt from data? Think again. Today’s farmers have access to an abundance of data, but probably don’t know what to do with it. When farmers use tools that actively collect and track data, they’re able to make better-informed decisions in planning and in crisis management.
Challenges with Precision Ag & Agtech
Agriculture’s success is dependent upon weather and environmental patterns. Limiting weather and environmental catastrophes are out of farmers’ control – but they can be prepared with disaster plans and farmers should know their risk-level prior to a tragedy. IoT (Internet of Things) sensors can monitor crop health and alert farmers in the chance of a natural disaster that would affect their livestock.
By utilizing agtech, farmers can mitigate damage to their land and crops, ultimately preserving the projected profitability of their crops.
Return on Investment
ROI. Everyone wants to be able to calculate this accordingly since it’s quantified and verifies the purchase of a tool. This is difficult, especially in agriculture, because of the several factors that play a part in ROI, including environmental variables.
Instead, farmers can track time saved and look at year-after-year data when implementing agtech solutions. Real-time feedback allows farmers to limit mistakes and correct problems they wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Labor is another major challenge that farmers face. By implementing automated solutions like GPS self-steering tractors, automated dashboards, and predictive analytics, farmers can save time and money that would otherwise be spent on labor manually carrying out these tasks.
Emerging Agtech Solutions to Watch For
According to Forbes, in “2017 alone, ag-tech funding through investment or acquisition increased 32% to $2.6 billion.” Specifically, companies like ConverSight.ai are seeing increased productivity and improved accuracy and efficiency through analytics-driven Voice-Directed Warehouse solutions like WareVoice. They recently participated in Techstars Farm to Fork Accelerator program, a program focused on the technology side of food and agriculture. For farmers, a product like ConverSight.ai could drastically improve their supply chain management practices.
From GPS tractors to conversational AI solutions, the possibilities are endless for agtech improving the practice of precision farming. Not only does it help farmers improve their business, but it will drastically improve the industry as a whole and get us closer to feeding billions of people as the population continues to grow.
Wondering where to get started with agtech solutions? Reach out to one of our consultants today.
Read more about our partnership with ConverSight.ai.