In the past few years of farming – the oldest practice of humans – has evolved from spades and axes to machines and robots. Digital technology has reached the rough hands of farmers and now artificial intelligence has stepped in to lend a hand. Robotic help in farming might seem bizarre to a layman or even farmers. For some, it may seem as if ideas used by H.G. Wells in his imaginative science fiction books have, somehow, found their way out of the books. However, potential investors have taken a serious interest in the research and development of departments of digital agriculture after observing its huge success. 1
In the worldwide efforts to eradicate the food shortage, artificial intelligence has proved to be an effective tool. Although its implementation involves various methods, only some of its gifts shall be discussed in the following article.
Agriculture is a science which must evolve to increase food production with the rapid increase in the population of our planet.
Predictive Analysis 2
The data collected from the past and present conditions of the farm is used to make a prediction of the most probable outcome. The analysis of this data through computers saves the farmers’ time and makes accurate predictions which help them with the timing and amounts of applications of fertilizers, product selection and profitability of the crop. Furthermore, it helps to determine the present and future nutritional needs of soil and plants.
Intelligent Weed Control 3
High-tech machines use cameras and sprays to remove the weeds through herbicides or even laser. The machine is taught to differentiate between crop and weed by images of different kinds of weed fed into its processor. The camera monitors the plants carefully and spraying is carried out in the most precise manner. The precision of the sprayings makes it impossible for the weed to become herbicide-resistant.
Robotic Crop Harvesting 4
Leading companies are investing in picking robots. These robots are designed to pick fruits of the plants in an accurate manner. Human error plays a significant role in fruit picking; hence wastage of produce is common. These robots work efficiently, hence saving farmers’ money, time and energy.
Plant diseases diagnosis app 5
Artificial intelligence works fashionably in this method. A smartphone is used to take pictures of the affected plants which are then matched with the images already stored in the server. Once matched, the app provides a comprehensive diagnosis of the plant.
Another technique is the placement of satellites in the space that capture the images of farms. The collective data of various farms all over the globe is saved into a common server and serves as a worldwide database. This tool acts as a medium of vital information among farmers all over the globe. The efforts of one farmer help all the farmers.
Agriculture is a science which must evolve to increase food production with the rapid increase in the population of our planet. The implementation of artificial intelligence in agriculture has already gained fame in India, China, USA and Israel. Even though almost all of Israel’s land is arid, yet it fulfils 90% of its food requirement through its own production. Research scientists of Israel made wonderful use of technology to save water by using plastic covers over plants to recycle the water. 6 Consequently, Israel has managed to increase its production 16 times only because of the latest technology.
Artificial intelligence in agriculture is no more an option but a necessity. Farmers working hand in hand with robots is no longer the imagination of Verne or Asimov, the imaginative geniuses of science fiction, but an established vital fact.