The Future of Farming is ‘Smart’: Deciphering the Layers of Hi-Tech Agriculture

Smart Farming

In today’s digital world, it is not surprising that agriculturalists turn to IoT, big data, and machine to machine (M2M) technology, to maximize yield, maintain a steady flow of food in the supply chain, and optimize efficiency. Also, as the area of arable land keeps declining and populations increase at a steady pace, it is only logical that smart farm systems become an integral part of agriculture policies throughout the globe.

Hi-tech agriculture is surely more than just a fancy label. Apart from limited arable land, shrinking of freshwater sources is another major challenge which farmers are facing. It is in this context that synergizing technology, engineering, and farming comes into play.

Though the adoption of technology in the agriculture sector is a new thing, what makes precision farming an interesting area of research is the fact that it brings together several stakeholders, each making important contributions towards a common goal. Food is a basic requirement throughout the globe, and given the fact that FAO predicts a requirement of 70% increase in food production (compared to the 2006 production) – agriculture is turning into a dynamic business wherein existing and new stakeholders are willing to disrupt in every creative way possible.

Popular tools for smart agriculture

In an article titled “Towards smart farming – Agriculture embracing the IoT vision”, Saverio Romeo has argued that though stakeholders see this great gap between demand and supply as an amazing platform to industrialize and capitalize; the focus should rather be on building simplistic and sustainable agri-models. And, perhaps, the best possible way to do this is by re-visiting the existing farming practices and merging data-centric technologies into it.

Major names in the industry have come up with products like agricultural drones, sensors, and use of big data to precisely predict the climate pattern, quality of soil, and the best seeds to be sown. For instance, John Deere, one of the leading manufacturer of farming equipment, has come up with self-driving tractors which is able to display precise data about the farmers’ crop yields.

Use of real-time information is yet another popular tool which has simplified the farming process. Industry majors are in fact looking for ways in which smart farm systems can lead to the emergence of ‘connected farms’. The focus has also shifted to use technology as a means to understand the property value of farms and gain insight into the commodities market.