Guest Post: Smart Farming and Tech Tours: Spotlight on Agricultural Innovation

Smart farm agriculture precision technology concept. Silhouette of farmer , automation robot arm machine , uav drone , tractor truck and rice field background. Flare light effect.

By 2027, the global smart agriculture market is expected to more than double in value, from $15 billion to $33 billion. The smart agriculture industry has grown significantly over the last several years, and it will only continue to grow as tools and technologies become more sophisticated.

Are you interested in learning more about smart farming, tech tours, and agricultural innovation? This blog features a deep dive into these and other subjects every agricultural enthusiast ought to understand.

Exploring the Core Technologies Driving Smart Farming

Smart agriculture or smart farming involves the use of various technologies on farms. The primary goal driving the inclusion of these tools is to optimize human labor while also increasing the quality and quantity of the farm’s crops.

The following are some examples of technologies that are quickly becoming popular in the smart agriculture world:

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

These self-learning technologies provide farmers with the ability to predict changes, including changes in climate, soil and water parameters, carbon content, and disease and pest spreading.

Smart Farming Sensors

Smart farming sensors allow farmers to monitor and catch even the smallest changes in the state of the environment and fields in real time.

Drones and Satellites with Cameras

Drones and satellites with cameras can help growers create maps (and update them regularly) while also closely monitoring territories from far away.

Big Data

Big data aids in forecasting, activity planning, and designing more efficient business models for farms. Big data helps farmers make long-term, data-driven decisions.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT gives farmers the opportunity to combine various tools and solutions into one system. Combining these tools allows for efficient data exchange and enables farmers to perform specific actions based on patterns and predictions.

Benefits of Smart Farming Technology

Smart farming offers numerous benefits to farmers, farm workers, and the environment. The following are some of the most noteworthy advantages of adopting smart agriculture innovations:

Data Collection

Smart agriculture sensors can collect a wide range of data, including data related to weather conditions, crop growth, livestock health, and soil quality, as well as staff performance and equipment efficiency. By collecting and analyzing data over time, farmers can keep an eye on the state of their business and make more informed decisions.

Greater Process Control

Many farmers who utilize smart technology experience better control over internal processes and, as a result, a reduction in production risks. With help from data collected using smart solutions, farmers can better foresee the output of their production, which allows them to plan for more efficient product distribution.

Less Spending and Waste

Smart technology can assist farmers when it comes to cost management and waste reduction. Because they have greater control over production, it’s easier for them to avoid waste and budget more precisely. When farmers are aware of anomalies in crop growth, livestock health, etc., they can also address risks that may cause them to lose their yield.

Increased Efficiency

Smart farming technology can help farmers automate everyday processes and critical elements of the production cycle, such as fertilization, irrigation, and pest control. With the help of automation, farmers will experience increased business efficiency and productivity.

Increased Crop Quality and Volumes

In addition to helping them work more efficiently, farmers can also use smart farming technology to yield enhanced product quality and higher product volumes. Increased control over the production processes (without sacrificing high standards for crop quality and growth capacity) allows for better outcomes.

Reduced Carbon Footprint

Automation and smart farming also provide environmental benefits. The use of smart farming technologies can reduce reliance on pesticides and fertilizers while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

How Tech Tours Are Educating Farmers on Agricultural Innovations

Tech tours provide those who are interested in the benefits of smart agriculture — but might also be wary of how these technologies work or the benefits they offer — to gain more insights into solutions like those listed above.

A skillful tour guide will introduce farmers to the latest tools and technologies and answer questions as they arise, without pressuring them to invest in new tools or change their farming practices right away.

Many agricultural tech tours also include opportunities to speak with farmers who currently use smart solutions in their everyday work processes. Hearing and learning from others who successfully use smart farming tools can help hold-outs to make more informed decisions.

The Impact of Precision Agriculture on Farming Efficiency

Precision agriculture (PA) involves the use of various technologies to improve crop yields and assist farmers in their decision-making processes.

For example, farmers might use global positioning systems (GPS) or global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) to identify and respond promptly to field irregularities. Prompt responses allow for more efficient problem-solving and better crop yields overall.

Research also shows positive environmental benefits of precision agriculture. A recent study revealed that farmers who consistently used precision agriculture technologies achieved the following outcomes:

  • 4 percent increase in crop production
  • 4 percent reduction in water use
  • 6 percent reduction in fossil fuel use
  • 7 percent increase in fertilizer placement efficiency
  • 9 percent reduction in herbicide and pesticide use

Initially, these might not seem like significant increases and reductions. However, they can add up to impressive results, including these:

  • More efficient land usage and 2 million acres of cropland saved
  • 30 million fewer pounds of herbicide used
  • Enough water saved to fill 750,000 Olympic-size swimming pools
  • 100 million fewer gallons of fossil fuels used

The Evolving Landscape of Agricultural Technology

The world of agricultural technology has changed dramatically over the last several years, and it will continue to evolve moving forward. In the future, smart farmers will rely on various technologies, from robots and sophisticated sensors to GPS technology and aerial imaging.

As these tools become more prevalent (and their benefits are more widely known), they will likely become more accessible and be adopted by a larger percentage of the country’s farmers (including small farmers who have previously been wary of adopting smart farming solutions).