As the world population grows, farmers will have to produce more food in the same arable area. To achieve this, while practicing sustainable farming, farmers are switching to precision agriculture and smart farming. Precision agriculture and smart farming integrate technology into conventional farming methods, to boost productivity, reduce losses, and mitigate the economic risks that accompany agricultural practices.
Precision farming allows farmers to care for each plant individually. Farmers use sensors and drones to capture vital data like moisture of the soil, leaf shape, and pests. They then use a data analytics tool to find out the areas that require attention. Now equipped with accurate information about each plant, farmers deliver calibrated doses of fertilizer or water. This helps to prevent overfeeding the plants or soil with nutrients, thereby reducing waste and producing healthier crops with higher yields.
The data collected is further used in plant phenotyping. Phenotyping is the process of measuring and analyzing observable plant characteristics. Seed producers use big data to observe individual plants over time and analyze the conditions in which each flourish. Farmers use this information to produce seed varieties that can thrive in specific soil and weather conditions. With improved seeds that are suited to the conditions of the farm, farmers not only increase yield but also prevent depletion of nutrients in the soil.
Farmers are also taking a better call on initiating the planting season through Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. ML and AI algorithms analyze the moisture in the soil that is required by crops, and over time, farmers map a pattern based on previous seasons. With information on soil health and the suitable seed variety, farmers initiate the planting. It also helps them monitor any deficiency or excess that the crops are facing and address them, improving their health and increasing the overall yield.
Precision agriculture and smart farming are, without a doubt, boosting yield and changing the dynamics of agriculture practices. However, adoption is slow due to farmers being wary of technology. Farmers will have to join hands with techies to step into the new age. The future of agriculture requires tech-savvy farmers. Anticipating this need of a tech-competent workforce, UPES School of Smart Agriculture’s programmes focus on advanced technologies like AI, ML, Big Data, IoT, and drones. To know more about the programmes, visit upes.ac.in