Exploring Cutting-Edge New Technology in Agriculture

Published on:
October 26, 2023

The global demand for food is on the rise, and it's expected to increase by a whopping 102% to feed the projected 9 billion people by 2050. This means we need to find new technology in agriculture by 60% to 70% to make sure we have enough raw materials for food, animal feed, and other uses.

To secure a sustainable future, given the current and growing strain on our planet's resources, everyone involved in the food system must commit to adopting and enforcing practices that reduce the use of technology in agriculture and natural resources whenever possible and find ways to recycle, repurpose, or reuse them when we can't. Governments can play a crucial role by putting in place policies and strategies to manage resources efficiently, both at the national and local levels.

Around the world, adopting sustainable farming practices is a key part of the effort to meet today's food needs without depleting the resources future generations will rely on. These practices focus on overall development that considers environmental, social, and economic sustainability, which are the three essential pillars of sustainable development.

20 New Technology In Agriculture In India To Reshape Your Agribusiness

Innovations have always played a significant role in advancing agriculture, from ploughs to milking machines. Here, we'll explore some of the new technology in agriculture trends expected to impact global farming in 2023 and beyond.

  1. Bee Vectoring Technologies (BVT)

In the realm of U.S. crop production, honey bees play a vital role, contributing a staggering $20 billion. These remarkable insects are crucial to our survival, which is why there's a growing focus on developing agricultural tools to safeguard bees and enhance their pollination abilities.

BVT takes advantage of bees that are raised for commercial purposes to deliver precise crop protection measures through pollination.

  • This approach replaces the need for chemical pesticides with an eco-friendly crop protection system.
  • What's unique about this system is that it doesn't rely on spraying water or using tractors. Instead, BVT has ingeniously designed bumblebee hives that allow bees to collect tiny amounts of pest control powders on their legs.
  • They then carry these powders as they move around the field, effectively distributing the protection.

This new technology in agriculture promotes sustainable farming practices, boosts crop yields, and enhances soil quality. BVT's solution is adaptable for a variety of crops, including blueberries, apples, sunflowers, and tomatoes, and it's suitable for farms of all sizes.

  1. Farm Automation

Automation has already become a crucial part of modern farming and is set to become even more essential in the years ahead.

  • Farmers are now using tools like drones to keep a close eye on their crops.
  • Advanced sensors can provide precise information about when to water and fertilise fields, monitor soil quality, and protect crops from threats like drought.
  • This increased automation will allow farmers to shift their focus from traditional manual labour tasks such as watering, seeding, and harvesting to other aspects of their agricultural operations.
  1. Livestock Farming

Modern technologies are transforming the way we approach livestock farming. These cutting-edge innovations offer farmers valuable insights based on data, ultimately helping them streamline farm operations, enhance animal well-being, and increase overall productivity.

Here are some of the new technologies in agriculture in India that are reshaping the landscape of livestock farming:

  • Automated Dairy Installations: These systems autonomously milk cows, eliminating the need for human intervention. Additionally, milk sensors are used to continuously monitor the quality of the milk produced.
  • Automated Cleaning Systems: These systems efficiently remove waste, creating cleaner and more hygienic environments for the animals, which can reduce the risk of diseases.
  • Armenta's Non-Antibiotic Treatment: Armenta has introduced a novel approach to treat bovine mastitis, a disease responsible for significant annual losses in the U.S. and Europe. This treatment harnesses acoustic pulse technology (APT) as an alternative to antibiotics.
  • Automated Feeder Systems: These systems provide animals with precisely tailored feeding mixtures in the right quantities to meet their specific nutritional requirements.
  • Faromatics Integration: Faromatics combines robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data to improve both animal welfare and farm productivity. This holistic approach enhances the overall conditions for livestock while increasing the efficiency of farming operations.

These advancements in livestock technology are revolutionising the industry, making farming more efficient, sustainable, and animal-friendly.

  1. Blockchain in Agriculture

Blockchain technology is making its way into agriculture to enhance transparency and traceability.

  • Utilising a decentralised database helps track information about plants from the moment they are cultivated to when they reach the consumer's shelf.
  • This technology ensures the quality of food and extends its shelf life.
  • Notably, Hyperledger, an open-source blockchain framework, is being adopted by industry leaders like Walmart. It enables real-time detection of potentially unsafe food items before they reach consumers.
  • In a bid to promote chemical-free agricultural products and enhance transparency in the agricultural supply chain, India, the world's largest producer of fruits and vegetables, is planning to implement blockchain technologies across its agricultural exports.

This new technology in agriculture is shaping the future of agriculture, making it more efficient, sustainable, and reliable.

  1. Laser Scarecrows

Troublesome birds or pests can wreak havoc on crops in an open field. Traditionally, farmers have relied on old-fashioned scarecrows to deter these unwelcome intruders. However, today, farm owners and managers are embracing cutting-edge technology, employing devices equipped with motion sensors to protect their crops from these hungry invaders.

A researcher from the University of Rhode Island, after discovering that birds are particularly sensitive to the colour green, played a crucial role in developing a laser scarecrow. This contraption emits green laser light, which remains invisible to the human eye in sunlight, but can extend up to 600 feet across a field to startle birds and prevent them from feasting on crops.

Initial trials involving laser scarecrows have shown that these devices can significantly reduce crop damage by decreasing the bird population around farmlands by anywhere from 70% to 90%.

  1. IoT in Agriculture

In agriculture, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a smart farming solution to monitor crop fields from anywhere.

  • This involves using sensors to keep tabs on soil moisture, crop health, livestock conditions, temperature, and more.
  • With the help of IoT technology, automated irrigation systems efficiently manage water resources.
  • By gathering data on factors like moisture and temperature, IoT assists in determining the precise amount of water required for crops each season.
  1. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Agriculture:

GIS in agriculture relies on new technology in agriculture like drones and satellites to gain insights into crop locations, types, fertilisation levels, soil conditions, and related information.

  • By utilising data from GIS remote sensing devices and software, farmers can identify the best spots for planting crops in the field and make informed decisions about improving soil quality.
  • In livestock management, GIS software keeps track of animal movements, aiding farmers in monitoring animal health, fertility, and nutrition.
  1. Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) Technology

Robert Salmon, a farmer from the UK, discovered that limiting the paths of farming machinery to specific lanes significantly reduced harm to the soil. When machines roam freely across the land, it can lead to almost all of the land being driven over. This, in turn, harms the land's drainage and its ability to crumble properly.

In 2016, Robert embarked on a plan to transform his 4,800-acre farm into a system where all farm equipment would follow a 12-metre-wide permanent traffic lane. Achieving this controlled traffic system demands precise methods, something that's nearly impossible using conventional GPS systems.

RTK technology, on the other hand, offers accuracy down to the centimetre. This level of precision allows farmers to create accurate maps of their fields and ensure that their vehicles always stick to the same lane. It sends the correct positioning data to tractors via radio signals, keeping them on the right path as they move. This new technology in agriculture in India improves soil health and productivity, resulting in higher yields with less resource input.

  1. AI/ML and Data Science in Agricultural Technology:

Farmers find agricultural forecasting much more accessible when they harness the power of AI/ML (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning) and data science technology.

  • Technologies like 3D laser scanning and spectral imaging/analysis enable farmers to predict weather conditions and optimise resource usage for irrigation, fertilisation, and pest control.
  • Through AI/ML and data science, farmers can analyse their fields to identify the best locations for planting seeds.
  • They can even employ computer vision to determine the ideal height, width, and spacing for plants. This data is then used to enhance their farming methods.

Also Read: Artificial Intelligence Irrigation System

  1. Minichromosome Technology

With the global population expanding and food demand increasing, farmers face the daunting task of boosting crop production by at least 23% just to maintain our current living standards. One significant challenge is losing entire harvests to pests, which becomes even more problematic as the world's population grows.

Genetically modified (GM) foods have faced criticism in recent years as a new technology in agriculture, with some studies suggesting potential links to allergic reactions and the presence of harmful toxins that could pose health risks to humans. Another concern is that GM food production can disrupt natural biodiversity and release toxins into the soil.

Fortunately, there's a promising solution on the horizon. Agricultural geneticists can harness minichromosome technology to enhance a plant's characteristics without making any changes to its genes. Minichromosomes contain small amounts of genetic material, allowing this technology to make plants more resilient to drought or pests without interfering with the plant's natural development.

  1. Regenerative Agriculture

Regenerative agriculture, according to the World Economic Forum, is seen as the new technology in agriculture to both reduce carbon emissions in the food system and make farming more resilient in the face of climate-related challenges. This innovative farming approach is guided by five core principles:

  • Encouraging biodiversity by integrating animals and plants.
  • Enhancing soil health by minimising activities that disrupt the soil.
  • Practising soil conservation by keeping the soil surface covered as much as possible.
  • Diversifying crops by cultivating a variety of plants in the same field.
  • Sustaining living roots through the planting of perennial crops or cover crops.
  1. Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) or Vertical Farming

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is a method for growing plants within a carefully controlled environment. It's also referred to as "vertical farming" or "indoor farming." In this type of cultivation, all the plant's needs, including water, nutrients, and light, are provided artificially using techniques like hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics.

CEA has proven to address several challenges associated with traditional farming. For example, it significantly reduces water consumption, depending on the setup. Some vertical farms use 70% to 95% less water compared to what's typically needed in conventional outdoor farming.

Moreover, CEA protects plants from adverse weather conditions and optimises space for cultivation.

  1. Agricultural Robotics

In 2022, the global market for agricultural robotics was valued at nearly $5 billion. One of the main reasons behind this new technology in agriculture is the increasing demand for food worldwide. To meet this demand, people started using agricultural robots, often referred to as agribots. These robots can perform various farming tasks, like planting seeds, harvesting crops, weeding, sorting, packaging, and even managing livestock. This not only boosts productivity but also saves a lot of resources.

  1. Drones

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones, have become incredibly useful in managing crops and livestock.

  • For instance, farmers now use drones equipped with sensors to keep an eye on plant growth, identify diseases, monitor field temperatures, and accurately apply pesticides or fertilisers where they're needed.
  • In animal farming, drones help observe pastures and track the movements of animals on large ranches.
  • Some even have thermal cameras to spot sick animals with high body temperatures.
  • Drones provide farmers with valuable data for making timely decisions.
  1. Precision Agriculture

With the world's growing population, we're producing more food per person, but this has led to water shortages due to increased irrigation. To address these challenges, many farmers are turning to precision agriculture.

  • This new technology in agriculture integrates sensor technology, AI, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), and IoT (Internet of Things) to gather and analyse data about soil, plants, and animals.
  • It allows farmers to use resources like water, fertiliser, pesticides, and labour more efficiently.
  • Precision agriculture is a departure from traditional farming methods that use a one-size-fits-all approach, ignoring variations in soil quality and terrain.
  1. Agricultural Biotechnology

While concerns about the health effects of agricultural biotechnology exist, the use of technology in agriculture to enhance plants and animals is still a prominent trend in modern farming. Genetic engineering is one such trend. Why? Because it has the potential to increase production and enhance global food security.

  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been proven safe for human consumption, provided that farmers follow regulatory standards when using biotechnology in agriculture.
  • When done correctly, agricultural biotechnology can improve the quality of farm products and create crops more resilient to climate challenges.
  1. Leveraging Data for Farming

Modern agriculture is evolving into a data-driven industry. Farms are turning into data hubs, equipped with sensors and advanced technology that continuously gather a wealth of information, ranging from soil conditions and humidity levels to crop yields. This surge in data collection is where big data and analytics come into play.

  • They empower farmers to make informed choices about planting and harvesting times, optimise water and fertiliser usage, and determine the ideal amount of seed to sow.
  • Agricultural operations are heavily influenced by unpredictable weather and environmental shifts, which can be especially challenging for larger farms.
  • The application of big data and analytics in agriculture offers a way for farmers to anticipate water cycles and rainfall patterns, allowing for more precise planning.
  1. The Power of Connectivity Technologies

In today's information-centric world, successful agriculture production relies on knowledge and data-driven methods. Farmers must have the capability to communicate with one another, as well as with suppliers and customers, to enhance food production efficiency. This is where connectivity technologies step in.

  • Connectivity technologies encompass a range of tools, including mobile devices, satellite systems, and internet-based platforms.
  • These innovations enable farmers to exchange information, aiding them in making smarter decisions about crop cultivation and livestock management.
  • Additionally, these technologies facilitate direct outreach to potential buyers and consumers, streamlining the process of selling agricultural products.
  1. Farm Management Software

Many farmers find themselves overwhelmed by the demands of their work, especially on larger farms. However, in today's new technology in agriculture, there's a solution – farm management software. This software acts like a digital assistant, providing real-time data and insights to help farmers keep track of their daily tasks. With these digital tools, farmers can make better decisions at every stage of their work.

One such tool enterprise resource planning solution is called FarmERP. It allows farms to streamline their operations, making it easier to handle tasks like procurement, managing the supply chain, finances, and processing, all from one central place. This kind of technology is continuously evolving, especially as more devices get connected to the internet. Mordor Intelligence predicts that the farm management software market will grow at a rate of 11.2% each year, reaching 2026.

  1. Water Management Technology

Irrigation is crucial for making dry, arid lands suitable for farming. However, many farmers still use outdated, wasteful methods that date back thousands of years. Flood irrigation, for example, not only uses excessive amounts of water but can also harm crops and pollute water sources with excess fertilisers.

Thankfully, innovation and technology have provided more sustainable solutions. One example is a micro drip irrigation system called N-Drip. This system delivers water slowly and directly to a plant's roots, creating an ideal environment for crop growth. It not only reduces water usage by up to 50% but also enhances the quality of the crops.

An Endnote: What’s The Future Of Agriculture Technology?

With the help of AI/ML and data science, farmers can assess their fields to identify the most suitable spots for planting seeds. They can employ computer vision to identify the ideal height, width, and spacing for the plants. This future of agriculture technology can then be applied to enhance their cultivation techniques.

New Technology in Agriculture FAQs

1. What new technology is used in agriculture?

In today's new technology in agriculture in India, embracing technology is crucial for achieving sustainability in agriculture. Tools like satellites, GPS, sensors, smart irrigation, drones, and automation play a pivotal role in precision farming, helping us use resources more efficiently.

2. What is new technology in agriculture in 2023?

Looking ahead to 2023, we can expect even more sophisticated robots and automation designed specifically for agricultural needs. These innovations might include robots that excel at tasks like harvesting crops, planting seeds, and applying pesticides and fertilisers with greater precision.

3. What is smart farming technology?

Smart farming is a management concept focused on providing the agricultural industry with the infrastructure to leverage advanced technology – including big data, The cloud, and the Internet of Things (IoT) – for tracking, monitoring, automating, and analysing operations.

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