The fusion of technology and agriculture presents an opportunity to enhance agricultural productivity to meet food demands. Farmers are already using various digital tools to optimize their resources and practices. Some farms are even entirely operated by digital tools, referred to as smart farms. Users praise the benefits of new technologies in agriculture, including improved productivity, resource optimization, livestock monitoring, and overall assistance in decision-making, reducing dependence on environmental uncertainties. Technological innovations in agriculture can be categorized into five main areas:
1. Internet of Things (IoT): In agriculture, connected devices take the form of sensors, drones, and other gadgets capable of exchanging data.
2. Precision Agriculture: This approach allows for targeted actions, such as irrigation or fertilization, based on collected data, whether by plant or by specific areas.
3. Robotics and Automation: Repetitive tasks can be performed without human intervention at a faster pace and with a low error rate. This can include planting, weeding, or harvesting. For instance, the American company Tortuga AgTech offers a picking robot that can identify ripe fruits.
4. Controlled Ecosystems: Technology enables monitoring of an increasing number of factors, making it possible to create fertile ecosystems in closed environments, such as vertical farms.
5. Sustainability Projections: With the abundance of data and models, it’s now possible to subject projects to sustainability evaluations. Platforms like Regrow Ag allow farms to simulate carbon emissions in the case of transitioning to regenerative practices.
However, integrating technological innovations into agriculture faces several obstacles, including acquisition and reorganization costs, the need for specialized training to master these tools, and concerns about data security. Security is a crucial factor in transitioning from conventional agriculture to precision agriculture, as farmers are wary of hacking and potential disruptions to their operations.