AI Farming: How AI Drives Modern-Day Farming

AI Farming: How AI Drives Modern-Day Farming
Contributor
Contributor
External Guest Writer
February 11, 2021

The World Economic Forum recently produced a report which noted that automation and artificial intelligence will displace 75 million jobs by 2022. The plus side is that the very same technology will also create 133 million jobs during the same period as well.

Artificial intelligence technology is on the verge of revolutionizing the face of our planet. The impact on the agriculture sector has already started to show as well, and in this article, we look at how AI is driving modern-day farming to new heights.

What is AI in Agriculture?

Artificial intelligence in farming is an innovative new approach to tackle the challenges of the agriculture industry.  It relies on utilizing the abilities of artificial intelligence technology to maximize the efficiency of various farming processes and to accumulate informative data that can drive decision making. 

Artificial learning in agriculture and machine learning in agriculture are two trends that are rapidly on the rise. Recent estimates valued A.I. farming at USD 600 million in 2018. This number is expected to inflate to USD 2.6 million by 2025, further punctuating the importance of this technology.

Top Artificial Intelligence Applications in Agriculture

The sheer utility of artificial intelligence in agriculture has prompted the development of various technologies in the recent years. The majority of all top A.I. farming applications can be placed into three major categories:

  • Predictive Analysis
  • Soil and Crop Monitoring
  • Agricultural Machines

We examine these categories in detail in the section below.

Predictive Analysis

Artificial intelligence and machine learning technology is being utilized to understand, track, and predict the various external environmental factors that affect the agricultural industry every year. This category is responsible for creating valuable data that can arm farmers with the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions. Some of the major tools from this segment include:

FarmShots

This is a software that utilizes satellites in order to monitor the health of crops across large regions. The purpose of this technology is to boost crop health and further the concept of sustainability.

Farmshots relies on aerial imagery captured with the help of drones and satellites in order to create and analyse specific farming data. The main idea is to help detect the presence of pests, predict diseases, and inform farmers about the nutritional health of their crops.

The software driving FarmShots is capable of performing various complex tasks such as informing farmers about the regions where fertilizer supply is low in their farms. This can help utilize fertilizers effectively and thereby reduce their consumption by up to 40 percent. 

aWhere

This is another important development in the field of predictive analysis that can be used to help predict weather patterns to aid farmers. The use of machine learning technology in conjunction with information provided by satellites can help to understand weather patterns and evaluate farm health in real time. Additionally, machine learning can also help analyze the condition of farms for the purpose of sustainability.

aWhere specializes in daily weather predictions and can customize its output based on the requirements of the farmers in various regions. In fact, this software can create over a billion data points everyday that includes vital information related to wind speeds, moisture levels, solar radiation, and temperature levels.

All this information can help farmers make an informed decision on a short-term and long-term basis based on the weather patterns developing in their region.

Soil and Crop Monitoring

The purpose of soil and crop monitoring technology, as the name suggests, has to do with monitoring two of the most integral elements of farming. This form of A.I. farming helps farmers continually monitor the health of their crops and farmlands and conduct interventions whenever necessary.

Some of the top technologies of the soil and monitoring segment includes:

SkySquirrel Technologies

This is a brand that’s responsible for creating drones and softwares that can provide an overhead view of farms. The purpose of using SkySquirrel is to increase overall crop yield and minimize the expenses on a farm.

When utilizing this technology, farmers can create a pre-programmed route on their farm for a drone to follow on a regular basis. The drone will utilize its cameras to record images of the farm and this can be utilized to conduct a thorough analysis at any point.

After the drone completes its surveillance, the data can be transferred into a computer using a USB. The SkySquirrel algorithm then comes into play in order to analyse the captured information and offer a detailed report to the farmers. 

Currently, this technology is being specifically employed in vineyards in order to monitor the health of the grapevine leaves.

According to the representatives of the SkySquirrel brand, their drone is capable of scanning 50 acres of land in just under 24 minutes. Once the scanning is complete, the algorithm can then provide a thorough data analysis with an astounding 95% accuracy.

Trace Genomics

Trace Genomics is a popular AI agricultural tool that helps provide a thorough soil analysis to farmers. The brand utilizes machine learning in order to conduct a detailed scan of the strengths and weaknesses of the soil in a farm. The purpose of this technology is to help prevent the growth of tainted crops and to maximize the yield of a farm.

Once a farmer hands in a sample of the soil from their land, Trace Genomics creates an extensive report in order to highlight the various contents within the soil. 

PEAT

PEAT is another upcoming agricultural tool that also focuses on soil health in order to inform and assist farmers. PEAT relies on the use of a deep learning software known as Plantix that’s used to understand and identify various nutritional deficiencies in the soil.

This is done by creating correlations between foliage patterns recorded in the past and cross-referencing it with various parameters such as soil diseases, pests, and soil malnutrition. The image recognition capabilities of this software is competent enough to identify these various defects with the help of just a smartphone camera. 

After the analysis is complete, PEAT also offers suggestions to farmers to help them restore the condition of their farm and maximize their overall yield. With an accuracy rate of 95%, this brand has quickly become one of the most vital tools in a farmers’ arsenal.

Agricultural Machines

In order to assist farmers with various manual chores, AI is being utilized to create hardwares that can ease the physical burdens on farmers. Here are some of the most important agricultural machines developed in recent years related to A.I. farming.

Harvest CROO Robotics

In order to assist strawberry farmers with the task of plucking produce in their fields, Harvest CROO Robotics has created a robot designed to tackle this chore. The company claims that their robots are capable of covering a sizable area of 8 acres in a single day. This equates its efficiency to that of 30 human hands working within the same time frame.

As a substantial amount of farm costs are being utilized in paying wages and labor expenses, this robot can help to drop overall operating costs considerably. While the brand is focused on helping strawberry farmers currently, the same technology can be employed to help farmers pluck other fruits and vegetables in the near future as well. 

Blue River Technology

The uncontrolled growth of weeds is a genuine area of concern for farmers all over the world. In order to tackle this persistent issue, Blue River Technology has developed a robot that’s known as See & Spray. 

This revolutionary technology lies on its computer vision to monitor the growth of weeds in any given space. Once the robot detects the weeds, it can use precision technology to isolate and remove the growth by spraying the right herbicide. The use of precision spraying technology also ensures that the weeds don’t develop a resistance to the herbicide over time.

BRT claims that their robots can reduce the reliance and usage of chemicals by nearly 80 percent. They can also reduce the overall expenditure in this department by 90 percent, thereby offering immense savings to farmers.

How Does AI in Agriculture Solve Traditional Farming Problems?

As we’ve seen in our previous section, A.I. farming is capable of solving numerous problems that are plaguing farmers when relying on traditional techniques. Some of these benefits include:

Eliminating  Uncertainties

Farming is a profession that’s plagued with uncertainties. The weather cycles around the world are currently in a state of haywire, and this dramatically affects the condition of the farmers and their crops. 

A.I. Farming can help eliminate these uncertainties by using technologies that can understand and predict various environmental patterns. By monitoring the variables and offering farmers by incisive data, AI can help reduce the uncertainties at play. This is an immense boon to the physical and mental condition of farmers.

Precision in Nutrition

Farming is an imprecise science as the environment around the plants are in a constant state of flux. The nutritional values of the soil and the levels of sunlight and water are difficult to judge without the help of technology.

Thankfully, A.I. farming has now created numerous methods through which farmers can monitor the condition of their soil and plants closer than ever before. This allows farmers to make crucial additions and subtractions in real time and ensure that the plants always receive the ideal levels of supplements.

Assist and Protect

The robotics being developed in A.I. farming is truly impressive and can go a long way in reducing the physical burdens on farmers. Farming has always been labor intensive, and hiring labor costs a pretty penny. Both these burdens can now be reduced in order to improve the profits of farmers and to decrease the physicality of farming altogether.

Additionally, robots that can detect and remove harmful elements such as weed also help to preserve and protect the crops. These technologies, in conjunction with valuable data generated from softwares, can aid farming in maximizing every square inch of their farms.

The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture

farm house of green plants and vegetables

The future of A.I. farming is crucial to the future of our planet. Numerous brands and corporations are investing heavily in this sector as they recognize the importance of upgrading farming techniques by inculcating state-of-the-art technologies. 

Thankfully, a sturdy and reliable base of technology has already emerged this past decade in order to fuel the growth of A.I. farming. The brands and technologies discussed above are only the nascent contributors to artificial intelligence in agriculture. Over the coming years, companies will develop these machines and softwares to solve numerous other farming issues and completely eliminate the uncertainties of this profession.

The Green AI Revolution

The green revolution played a significant role in altering the course of our planet, offering solutions to greatly improve the condition of farmers around the world. While these solutions have helped us survive for numerous decades, it is time for a new stage that can tackle the problems faced by farmers in the modern world.

Enter the Green Artificial Intelligence Revolution. 

Artificial intelligence in agriculture holds the potential to maximize the potential of farmlands around the world while simultaneously lowering the burdens on farmers. If implemented quickly and implemented well, these artificial intelligence technologies can easily tackle all the food shortage currently being experienced on our planet.

In fact, we can even move into a state of surplus in the near future. That would be truly remarkable, and it's also why these technologies deserve greater awareness and support.