Agtech Trends In 2020
How is Blockchain transforming Agriculture?
Blockchain’s capability of tracking ownership records and tamper-resistance can be used to solve urgent issues such as food fraud, safety recalls, supply chain inefficiency and food traceability in the current food system.
Blockchain’s unique decentralized structure ensures verified products and practices to create a market for premium products with transparency. Thus, commanding a premium price would provide a monetary incentive.
Why is it important?
Food traceability has been at the center of recent food safety discussions, particularly with new advancements in blockchain applications. Due to the nature of perishable food, the food industry at whole is extremely vulnerable to making mistakes that would ultimately affect human lives. When foodborne diseases threaten public health, the first step to root cause analysis is to track down the source of contamination and there is no tolerance for uncertainty.
Consequently, traceability is critical for the food supply chain. The current communication framework within the food ecosystem makes traceability a time-consuming task since some involved parties are still tracking information on paper. The structure of blockchain ensures that each player along the food value chain would generate and securely share data points to create an accountable and traceable system.
Vast data points with labels that clarify ownership can be recorded promptly without any alteration. As a result, the record of a food item’s journey, from farm to table, is available to monitor in real-time.
The use cases of blockchain in food go beyond ensuring food safety. It also adds value to the current market by establishing a ledger in the network and balancing market pricing. The traditional price mechanism for buying and selling relies on judgments of the involved players, rather than the information provided by the entire value chain. Giving access to data would create a holistic picture of the supply and demand. The blockchain application for trades might revolutionize traditional commodity trading and hedging as well. Blockchain enables verified transactions to be securely shared with every player in the food supply chain, creating a marketplace with immense transparency.
How is AI transforming Agriculture?
The rise of digital agriculture and its related technologies has opened a wealth of new data opportunities. Remote sensors, satellites, and UAVs can gather information 24 hours per day over an entire field. These can monitor plant health, soil condition, temperature, humidity, etc. The amount of data these sensors can generate is overwhelming, and the significance of the numbers is hidden in the avalanche of that data. The idea is to allow farmers to gain a better understanding of the situation on the ground through advanced technology (such as remote sensing) that can tell them more about their situation than they can see with the naked eye. And not just more accurately but also more quickly than seeing it walking or driving through the fields.
Why is it important?
There is huge potential for artificial intelligence and machine learning to revolutionize agriculture by integrating these technologies into critical markets on a global scale. Remote sensors enable algorithms to interpret a field’s environment as statistical data that can be understood and useful to farmers for decision making. Algorithms process the data, adapting and learning based on the data received. The more inputs and statistical information collected, the better the algorithm will be at predicting a range of outcomes. And the aim is that farmers can use this artificial intelligence to achieve their goal of a better harvest through making better decisions in the field.
What is Farm Automation?
Farm automation, often associated with “smart farming”, is technology that makes farms more efficient and automates the crop or livestock production cycle. An increasing number of companies are working on robotics innovation to develop drones, autonomous tractors, robotic harvesters, automatic watering, and seeding robots. Although these technologies are fairly new, the industry has seen an increasing number of traditional agriculture companies adopt farm automation into their processes.
Why is it important?
Harvesting fruits and vegetables have always proven to be a difficult problem to automate. Harvest robots must be gentle with the produce to avoid bruising and damage. Companies like Agrobot have successfully developed the first robot for gently harvesting traditionally delicate produce while still meeting quality standards.
Autonomous tractors can be controlled remotely or even pre-programmed to give full autonomy to a producer. Tractor automation kits are even being developed that make automation more accessible for farmers by affordably retrofitting existing tractors with cutting edge driverless technology and implement control.
3.Seeding and Weeding:
Robotics developed for seeding and weeding can target specific crop areas. In seeding, this can easily reduce labor and mundane tasks on the farm. Weeding robotics can be incredibly accurate and reduce pesticide usage by 90% with computer vision.
Drones can be used to monitor conditions remotely and even apply fertilizers, pesticides, and other treatments from above. They can also quickly and cost-effectively identify problem areas with imagery and infrared analysis to help farmers diagnose issues early on.
Livestock Farming Technology
What is Livestock Farming Technology?
Livestock technology can enhance or improve the productivity capacity, welfare, or management of animals and livestock. New developments in the past 8-10 years have made huge improvements to the industry that make tracking and managing livestock much easier and data-driven. This technology can come in the form of nutritional technologies, genetics, digital technology, and more.
Why is it important?
Sensor and data technologies have huge benefits for the current livestock industry. It can improve the productivity and welfare of livestock by detecting sick animals and intelligently recognizing room for improvement. Computer vision allows us to have all sorts of unbiased data that will get summarized into meaningful, actionable insights. Data-driven decision making leads to better, more efficient, and timely decisions that will advance the productivity of livestock herds. Sensors are being developed to monitor real time milk quality, health, and pregnancy hormones. In addition, virtual fences exist that can move animals wearing a sensor to be moved remotely from one area of a pasture to another. Even robotics are advancing fast in this industry, where it’s addressing the challenges of labor shortages on traditional livestock farms. 12% of dairy farms are currently using robots and are expected to grow to 20% in the next 5 years.