The way we produce, distribute, and consume food is changing rapidly. New companies and technologies have the potential to help farmers grow more food in a safer, more sustainable way while reducing the cost for consumers. This transformation is referred to as AgTech (short for agriculture technology), or the "future of food and farming." Agriculture technology covers software, sensors, data analytics, robotics, artificial intelligence and other new tools being used to improve crop yields, cut costs and reduce waste in the production of food.
What Is Agriculture Technology?
AgTech is a broad term for innovative technologies and methods being used in agriculture to improve crop yields, reduce costs, and reduce waste in the production of food. AgTech encompasses everything from big data and analytics to robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. It’s important to note that the term “AgTech” is very broad and can cover more than just “technology” as we would normally think of it. It can mean anything from precision agriculture (using data and analytics to manage crops), to indoor farming, to blockchain tech to track food supply chains.
The Benefits of Ag Tech
- Increased Yields with Reduced Water Use - Agriculture is responsible for approximately 70% of global water use. Innovative technologies in irrigation such as AI-equipped drip systems can detect exactly when crops need water based on real-time data analysis. This means that crops are only watered when necessary, reducing the amount of water needed by 10-30%. New types of plant breeding, biotechnology, and indoor farming can also help reduce the amount of water needed to produce a crop, making food production more sustainable.
- Safer Food - Data analytics and robotics can improve food safety by analysing factors such as the temperature of a product or the cleanliness of a production facility. New robot-powered food packaging and delivery systems can deliver food in a safer, more efficient manner.
- Increased Productivity - Modern technologies can help farmers analyse crop data and make decisions on the most efficient and effective ways to grow crops. This can save time and money.
How does AgTech Work?
Agriculture technology works by gathering data from a variety of sources. Some of these sources are humans, such as farmers and employees in the food supply chain. Other sources are machines and sensors. Data is then analysed by software to gain insights and make predictions. Data can come from inside a production facility, such as crop data from sensors monitoring soil moisture, temperature, and sunlight. It can also come from outside the facility, such as weather data or information on the price of certain inputs like fertiliser. The data is then analysed using machine learning algorithms to determine viable solutions or find patterns that could indicate a potential problem. For example, if a sensor or other data point shows that a crop is being watered too much, the algorithm may suggest that the sensor be adjusted or that the watering system be tweaked so that the crop receives the right amount of water.
Where is AgTech Going?
Agriculture technology is still in its infancy and has a lot of potential to grow and change. Advances in computing power, algorithms, and machine learning will help agriculture technology make more accurate predictions and recommendations. The internet of things will allow sensors and other hardware in production facilities to connect with one another and transmit data. This will make data collection more organized and efficient. As advances are made, agriculture technology will become more widespread and be used in more production facilities. Eventually, agriculture technology may replace some human workers, especially in low-skilled positions such as data entry.
Final Words: Should You Be Excited About AgTech?
Agriculture technology is an exciting and rapidly growing sector. It has the potential to change the way that we produce, distribute, and consume food. Innovative technologies can help farmers produce more food with less water, fewer resources, and in a more sustainable way. Improved technology can also lead to better food safety. Better technology can also reduce the cost of food for consumers. Agriculture technology will bring about a huge transformation in the way that we produce and consume food.