Agriculture has come a long way from traditional farming methods. The demands of modern times and growing populations have necessitated more efficient and productive ways of farming. Advanced farming techniques leverage technology and innovation to maximize yields and optimize resource utilization. This article explores some of the key advanced farming techniques that are revolutionizing the agricultural industry.
Precision farming refers to farm management supported by various technologies to precisely observe, measure and respond to intra-field variability in crops. This helps optimize returns on inputs by ensuring crops and soil receive what they need, variable rate technology (VRT). Various precision farming tools are:
– GPS/GNSS and yield monitors help map yields and attribute data to specific locations in the field. This provides valuable spatial information to identify low and high yielding zones.
– Sensor technology such as multispectral cameras, thermal cameras etc. are used to detect soil condition, crop health and nutrient deficiencies.
– VRT enables varying application of seeds, fertilizers, chemicals etc. as per map data, applying optimal inputs only where needed thus reducing wastage.
– Farm management software synthesizes all data to provide prescriptive insights and recommendations. Variable rate irrigation is also improving water use efficiency.
Overall precision farming helps maximize profits while minimizing environmental impact through judicious input application. Many governments are promoting precision agriculture for sustainable intensification of agriculture.
Mechanization and Robotics
Advanced mechanization using machines and robotics is increasing labor productivity on farms. Equipment ranges from basic power tillers and harvesters to high-tech autonomous robots:
– Tractors are becoming more versatile with front loaders, rear haulers for material handling. Multi-purpose tractor attachments allow single tractor to perform multiple tasks.
– Driverless electric tractors reduce fuel costs and labor for tasks like seeding, weeding and spraying through GPS navigation. Computer vision enables obstacle avoidance.
– Robotic milking systems have revolutionized dairy farms, milking cows automatically as per their schedules. This improves hygiene, efficiency and productivity.
– Harvesting robots use computer vision, sensors and machine learning to pick fruits without damage, working 24/7. Tomato harvesting robots can pick 900 tomatoes per hour.
– Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones are enhancing crop management with specialized attachments. Multi-rotor drones capture high-resolution images for crop monitoring over large areas.
Advanced mechanization boosts production capacity manifold while reducing costs. It also attracts younger generation towards modern smart farming practices.
Greenhouses and Controlled Environment Farming
Global challenges like changing climate and diminishing natural resources are spurring innovative protected cultivation techniques:
– Greenhouse farming uses enclosures made of transparent material like glass, plastic or cloth to regulate climatic factors like temperature, humidity, air circulation etc. enabling year-round cultivation. Computerized systems precisely control these parameters.
– Vertical farming grows crops in stacked layers or tall buildings, sometimes even in urban areas with minimal land requirement. lettuce, basil are common vertical farm crops. It uses optimized lighting and aeroponics/hydroponics for plant nutrition supply.
– Aquaponics integrates recirculating aquaculture with hydroponic vegetable/herb production. Fish waste provides nutrients to hydroponic plants that clean the water for fish in a symbiotic ecosystem. It produces both fish and crops together.
– Aeroponics grows plants suspended in air, misted with nutrient solution only as required without using soil. It optimizes water and nutrient use through closed-loop systems.
Controlled environment agriculture counteracts impacts of seasonal variations and ensures accessibility to fresh farm produce. It also conserves resources like land and water. With Internet of Things based monitoring it will enable sustainable urban farming.
Genetics and Crop Breeding
Advanced methods in genetics and biotechnology are improving yield, resilience and nutrition of crops:
– Marker assisted selection helps breeders introgress important traits from wild plants into high yielding crop varieties faster. Gene pyramiding stacks multiple resistance genes for climate resilience.
– Genome editing tools like CRISPR enable very precise genetic modifications for traits not achievable through conventional breeding alone. Drought/flood tolerant and pest resistant varieties can be created.
– Transgenic crops are genetically modified using recombinant DNA technologies to express novel characteristics, for example BT cotton resistant to bollworm infestation.
– Molecular markers allow tracking inheritance patterns of traits even in hybrid crops. Genetic gain from breeding programs can be accelerated through genomics-assisted breeding.
Advanced farming incorporating latest technologies from precision agriculture to robotics offers the promise of sustainably meeting the world’s escalating food needs. While maintaining ecological balance, it enhances productivity and resource use efficiency. Both smallholder and corporate farms stand to gain immensely by embracing digital and biological innovations in farming. With supportive policies and infrastructure, advanced agricultural systems will transform global food security.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it