How AI is transforming the agricultural sector
Wednesday, December 02, 2020
There are many executives, experts, and analysts that fully believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will forever change that human beings interact with each other, and how businesses operate. This doesn’t apply to just one sector or industry. Many companies are already using AI for all sorts of applications — whether it applies to digital marketing, automating tedious processes, or improving customer service.
Agriculture is extremely important to the global economy. For those that are unaware, it is estimated that the food and agriculture sector is worth about $5 trillion globally, and it’s hard to downplay those kinds of numbers. The agricultural sector is also utilizing and implementing AI in many different ways. Here are some examples of how AI is already transforming the agricultural sector.
All around the world, there are farmers that are impacted by weather trends that often cannot be accurately predicted. Artificial intelligence will make it easier to monitor and track the weather, and it isn’t hard to imagine that predicting a natural disaster could save a significant amount of money for both large agricultural corporations and smaller agricultural businesses. Of course, the fact that global climate change is more relevant than ever is also something that has to be considered for any organization in the agricultural industry.
Agriculture is constantly impacted by different weather conditions, whether it involves rainfall, humidity, temperature, or other factors. If farmers could use AI to help observe crop yields, or draw conclusions based on historical data — it can go a long way towards saving time and money. In fact, it is estimated that AI could eventually help slash weather-related crop losses by around 25%.
The agricultural sector is a massive one, but the truth is that it might need to grow more than many might believe. For those who are unaware, it is estimated that agricultural production will have to increase by somewhere between 50 to 70% in order to meet global demand over the next several decades. This is one of the reasons that many agricultural corporations are investing in self-driving tractors to help ramp up production.
The idea here is simple: farmers could use these tractors to improve crop yields tremendously. An AI startup by the name of Blue River Technology rose to prominence due to the fact that it developed a “see and spray” technology. This technology allows tractors to use deep learning to identify specific plants and drop fertilizer on crops while simultaneously spraying weeds with pesticides. It’s easy to see how this could save agricultural businesses a significant amount of money, and it might not surprise anyone to find out that John Deere, one of the largest agricultural equipment manufacturers in the United States, acquired Blue River Technology for around $305 million.
Farms are already examining their data to make sure that they can remain productive and profitable, but AI will take this data to an entirely new level. AI will help to drive “precision agriculture,” which means more farmers will be able to collect data and insight to improve their operations. This isn’t limited to improving crop yields at all.
It also means that farmers will have more data regarding soil moisture and nitrogen content, for example, which is the kind of data that might not have been readily available before AI. This data could lead to farms making more informed decisions about their crops, thanks to machine learning. It’s important to remember that AI can help farmers figure out the best times to plant their crops, as well as automating tasks so that farmers are free to tend to other aspects of their business operations.
AI will undoubtedly transform the agricultural sector all around the world, but that doesn’t mean that every small business can afford to implement the technology. However, it’s important to recognize that AI will be essential in terms of meeting global food demand in the near future.
It will be integral to identifying obstacles to crop yields — whether artificial intelligence is utilized for weather trends, pest detection, or monitoring crops. Of course, it’s also important to note that data privacy and security will also have to be considered when it comes to AI implementation.
Farms will be able to detect and track crops in a way that was unimaginable before AI, and the fact that self-driving tractors can work for 24 hours per day will also improve yields significantly. While it may take some time to determine all of the ways that AI will transform the agricultural industry, one thing is for sure: AI will transform the sector forever.
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