Advances in technology and the growth of the internet of things are making farming more productive and efficient. This is good news for the farmers and ranchers that produce our food as well as for the consumers that eat the crops and livestock they raise. By 2050 it is estimated the population of Earth could rise to almost 10 billion people. Here are some of the technologies that are currently being used by farmers and that are expected to see an increase in use over the decades.
Self driving tractors also known as autonomous tractors are a new development released in 2016 by the company, New Holland. Combined with Geographic Positioning Systems (GPS), farmers can program tractors to till and harvest plots of land on their fields that they have programmed. The self navigating tractors can maneuver more accurately and lets farmers perform or manage others tasks from the tractor’s cab. Expect to see some more developments and additions to self driving tractors in the future.
Another agricultural technology innovation is fit bits for dairy animals such as cow. People use fitness trackers to track their health via calories burned and distance covered during a job. A fit bit for a cow would be able to measure the animal’s temperature and report on what the animal is currently doing. For example, a rancher could see whether his cows are eating, sleeping or resting. Problems with cows can also be detected quickly such as sickness, lameness and pregnancy.
GPS technology has been utilized in agriculture for a while now. Some companies have installed GPS systems on tractors. Farmers can use GPS to help them farm their lands when visibility is poor. They can also use GPS to help check soil samples and to help them decide which crops to plant in an area based on GPS info.
Motion sensor technology can also help farmers be more productive and help them conserve resources at the same time. For example, sensors in the ground below crops can tell farmers the moisture of the soil. This way, farmers can know whether they need to add more water or if there is a sufficient amount already present. Combing moisture sensors with underground pipes or drip irrigation can reduce water consumption significantly while still letting farmers get maximum productivity from their lands. This technology would be especially useful for dry climates.