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Tech in Agriculture

The second half of the 20th century saw a new dawn in the field of agricultural technology. Such developments changed the way agriculture and farming were perceived earlier. Here is a gist of how technology evolved in the field of agriculture over the last half-century!

  1. 1) GREEN REVOLUTION-1960 onwards: Green revolution was an agricultural revolution aimed at nurturing the developing nations with sufficient food supply for their further rising population. In 1940, it was brought forth by the vice president of the U.S.A named Henry Wallace. It was basically initiated by 4 agricultural scientists, among whom one famous name was Norman Borlaug. As time passed by post the advent of the green revolution and its inclusion in the Agri industry, different developing nations across the globe foresaw an insane increase in the production of new varieties of wheat.

  2. 2) SINGLE ACTIVE INGREDIENT HERBICIDE-1974: In 1974, a new herbicide ventured in the agro market and economy. It was prepared with Glyphosate, which was the single ingredient involved in its making. The herbicide found its importance in removing weeds from their crops. It was not just restricted to farmers' use, but it instead made its way to the houses and kitchen gardens of families. It was further used to stop the weeds from growing in the lawns, pedestrian walks, etc.

  3. 3) ROTARY COMBINES- 1975: Rotary combines were the brainchild of the famous scientist Sperry-New Holland. Its specialty is that this could cut the crops and separate the same within one single pass in seconds. For crops like corn, it even was capable of chopping off the harvested lot. Isn't that amazing?

    Technologyin Agriculture

  4. 4) GENE MODIFIED PLANT CELL-1982: When this was introduced, it was the first time a genetic modification in the plant cell was seen to be done. It was done by Monsanto company scientists. Agrobacterium was used as the active ingredient and catalyst for the development of the new gene. The new gene formation was seen done in the petunia plant. It took 5 years for these scientists to launch it for outdoor experimentation. Even today, this continues to be actively used by many agricultural companies.

  5. 5) SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY-1994: This year saw a tremendous innovation for the field of agriculture. It made farmers use satellite technology to overview their crops. It further improve tracking, planning, and managerial activities about agriculture.

  6. 6) COMMERCIAL GMO CROPS-1996: This year saw an astonishing development about commercial crops. Roundup soybeans and Bollgard cotton were the first two crops that went to farmers' availability commercially. Glyphosate made herbicides viable due to soybeans. Also, the GM traits that cotton possessed protected it from tobacco budworms, etc.

  7. 7) SOFTWARE INNOVATIONS-2000: As all the sectors foresaw the development and active usage of mobiles and other software devices, so did the farming sector. Farmers started using mobiles to have a watch over their crops and to stay in an active liaison with other big farmers around them. Even some country governments also invented apps to help their farmers grow and yield better crops. Now they could also order fertilizers for their produce by comparing prices around the market.

  8. 8) DATA FARMING POTENTIAL-2015: The global farming data available online helped farmers improve their farming techniques and make their way out towards a more sustainable farming method. They could now look for different products online, compare their prices, look for recent advancements in their field. The data storage platforms like FieldView brought together many farmers, agricultural models, weather monitoring data, etc. Such things collectively on one single platform can be a great boon for farmers who otherwise had to look for different sources to gather such information.

Drone used in agriculture

Having looked at the different ways our farming techniques have evolved concerning technology, let us further understand the various technological advancements that make the current agricultural industry thrive!

  1. a) INDOOR VERTICAL FARMING: It refers to the new way of growing crops in which crops are placed one above the other in a vertical manner instead of the conventional horizontal pattern. Generally, it is done in a temperature-controlled and close area. This method is absolute help to those who can't afford to have ample land space to grow crops. Also, it is a breakthrough in present-day farming as there is an immense scarcity of land in the cities. It gives a unique way to the earlier accelerating pace of urban agriculture. Some of its advantages that one can reckon are increment in crop yields, reduction in supply chain channels required to transport the yields from farms to wholesalers and granaries. Some of these plantations are unique enough to even demand more soil for every crop. It may sound amusing, but it is possible about the current variety of hydroponic plants. These hydroponic veggies are planted in a bowl or such utensils in which a lot of nutrients are put along with water. The other such plant is the Aeroponic variety. Such plants are rooted one over the other, and their growth is ensured with the help of water and nutrients. These are not planted within them but are rather sprayed with the same. Also, it requires artificial lights instead of natural sunlight.

    Indoor vertical farming is a fantastic pathway to sustainable development. Ahead of that, it demands the least labor than any other traditional farming method. It can help farmers overcome weather spontaneity issues, and if the weather doesn't suit the crops, one can grow the same in an artificially controlled environment.

  2. b) FARM AUTOMATION: It is famously known as Smart farming. It is a renowned technology that makes the production cycle automated. It is inclusive of autonomous tractors, drones, robotic harvesters, automated watering systems, seeding robots. Many agricultural companies are foreseeing such developments in the near future. It is paving the path for modern agriculture. Farm automation is generally mistaken for easing out complex farming activities, but it aims to reduce the time taken in mundane farming tasks like seeding, overviewing, etc. It has many advantages, among which some are- feeding global population, low labor cost, addressing dynamic consumer needs.

  3. c) LIVESTOCK FARMING TECHNOLOGY: Traditionally, overlooked livestock farming has been the most vulnerable and underdeveloped industry. In terms of importance, it is one of the most important and crucial to human development, but it saved it nowhere from being overlooked. The livestock industry is inclusive of cattle ranches, poultry farms, dairies, etc. For operating on such large scale livestock, businessmen need to keep records of all their transactions, keep a strict vigilance and supervision over their workers, supply their cattle with adequate nutrition, etc. For such things, technological advancements are a must.

    The recent advancement of big data has made it a lot easier and has revolutionized the livestock farming industry. For instance, there have been developments like genetic, nutritional technology, data mapping technology, etc. Technology in such an industry helps in the welfare of humans and ensures quality management of livestock.

  4. d) MODERN GREENHOUSES: The recent developments in modern agriculture have seen a massive shift in the field of modern greenhouses. Earlier, these were used for research or making one's garden look beautiful, but now, the concept of greenhouses has significantly changed. Its purposeful horizon has widened enough. Now, it is done on a vast scale to make enough space for commercial cropping. In fact, according to the current statistics, USD 350 billion worth of production has been observed in terms of vegetables with the effect of these greenhouses. These are one of the most capital infused plans these days. And as they are expanding at such a rapid pace, what they employ for their better management is technology. For instance, LED lights, automated systems, etc. These things are crucial to compete in the kind of ever-ready market we have today.

    The current trend demands all the vegetables in all seasons, no matter what the city's geographical location is. To feed up to that sort of demand, the farmers need to have such urban greenhouses.

    agriculture field

  5. e) PRECISION AGRICULTURE: The current evolution that farming and cropping are going through is all enveloped with technology. Without technology, there's no future that one can see in the farming industry. As the name suggests, precision agriculture is all about keeping a check over a minute and precise things in agriculture. For instance, it takes into account the variables like level of moisture, pest control, conditions and temperature of the soil, factors in the microclimate, etc. It may sound unnecessary or overemphasizing the cropping patterns, but keeping a check like this enables the farmers to maximize their crop efficiency and effectiveness. According to a recent Grandview research report, the precision agriculture market will reach a worth of 43.5 billion dollars, that too soon by the year 2025.

  6. f) BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY: Blockchain technology is all about transparency assurance when food production is done on such a large scale. It keeps the records of ownership. It is used to address issues such as food forgery, recalls of safety, traceability of food, etc. Its structure is unique as it is a decentralized one and ensures transparency and quality food items on every level. With recent advancements in blockchain, it has become really easy to have traceability of food. It has become famous because, currently, food is an integral part of any human society, and hence food safety is essential to human health. Working on such large levels, it is quite likely that food items are dealt with poorly, but with this technology, one can keep an eye on such issues.

    In the event of an epidemic or foodborne disease, blockchain's food traceability application is put to use. It checks and zeroes down the source of contamination and adulteration. Tracing food items at every level in such a way also keeps a check over the prices. Previously it was all about the seller's wishes; now that blockchain is there, one can understand it transparently.

    agriculture and tech

  7. g) ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: With AI evolving in the market, every sector sees new dawn, and so does the agriculture! It has opened huge doors for digital agriculture. Some of the gadgets making use of this technology are satellites, sensors, etc. Moreover, UAVs are also a reckonable gadget in the market of digital agriculture. These things can be used to have a watch over one's farm throughout the day. It can monitor the temperature of the soil, moisture requirements, the health of a particular plant, etc.

    The rise of AI in the agriculture industry's field is to let the farmers have a better understanding and a closer view of their crops, which, without such technology, they would never have been able to get. Also, a naked human eye can't even see the microorganisms in their fields and hence, cannot address the issues that crop up due to them. But at least such advanced technology can help one see that. Ahead of that, you can see it all at a rapid pace and hence act instantaneously. You do not need to patrol the entire farm for days before acting upon it. The quick action is made possible by the interpretation of the algorithms through AI. The basis of working on artificial intelligence is the set of data collected and its frequency. The quality of analysis is directly proportional to the number of times data is provided to artificial intelligence tools. It gives a better study by reading the patterns from all the data presented.

Such technology and such technological advancements are crucial to the improvement of farming in developing nations like India. It will not just benefit the farmers but also help India explore its true potential in agriculture with the impressive geographical diversity that the country owns!

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