As the world population increases, so does the demand for food. To meet this need, many farmers are turning to technology to increase crop yields and make their business more efficient and profitable. The three areas at the forefront of agricultural technology include sensors, automation, and engineering.
This area of agricultural technology is concerned with ways to make farm equipment more efficient and effective. They also look for the means to improve the infrastructure of agriculture, which can include warehouses, dams, or water reservoirs. By improving how the infrastructure works, agricultural engineers can improve how well a farm runs.
Agricultural engineers might also focus on ways to improve sustainability. This can include a focus on controlling water pollution, improving water quality, and developing reclamation projects for farms. Some may even work on nonfood projects, such as developing biofuels from algae or agricultural waste.
Some colleges offer programs in agricultural engineering, giving students the opportunity to be educated in the scientific and technological aspects of the job. Once they graduate with their degree, they have the option of entering a multitude of positions, including machinery designers, researchers, structure designers, waste specialists, or land development engineers, in addition to a variety of other jobs.
The primary role of an agricultural engineer is to find ways to improve how a farm runs, thus improving crop yields and feeding the growing population of humans.
Currently, there’s a drive for companies to automate farm equipment so the machinery can operate without humans. Certain types of automated farm equipment have been used for a little more than 15 years, but a human still has to be behind the wheel. As the technology advances, the hope is that farm equipment will run around the clock with no humans. This has the potential to improve how crops are planted and harvested, improving yields and making it safer for people during the process.
Some equipment being used in crop production includes VibraScreeners. The agriculture industry is particularly reliant on vibratory screeners and industrial classifiers. These tools classify, separate, dewater, and de-dust crops more efficiently than humans, making these steps in the manufacturing process more cost effective. They also lower the chances of accidents and illness that can affect people on farms.
Other automated machinery used in agriculture includes harvesting machines, which are most often used in lettuce and tomato crops. Some dairy farms even use robotic milking equipment and automatic feeders to take care of their cows. These processes can be accomplished 24 hours a day, which is beneficial to the farmer, who needs to rest at some point.
Sensors in agriculture
Remote sensors are revolutionizing agriculture and have been seen in such devices as wearables for livestock and smart greenhouses and barns. These technologies make it easier for farmers to monitor their crops and animals — they can get real-time data to make quick decisions on how to fix a problem.
Soil or crop information can be obtained using technology based on planes, satellites, or other farm equipment. Drones can be used to monitor the growth rate of plants, discover diseases, and apply pesticides and herbicides.
Smart greenhouses and smart barns can monitor the temperature inside the buildings and report ventilation, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, and water pressure to the farmer. These measurements are crucial to monitor so optimum conditions are achieved for plant and animal growth and health.
There are different varieties of livestock wearables, from ear tags to belly belts to ankle bracelets, but they all aim to achieve the same thing: keeping livestock healthy. Wearables are used on cows, chickens, and pigs so farmers can give their animals more targeted care and intervene earlier if a health issue arises. Livestock wearables also allow farmers to keep track of their animals using laptops or mobile devices.
Technology has made our lives easier and more productive, and it’s starting to do the same for agriculture. The advances that have been made so far, and will continue to be made in the future, will ensure that the growing population of humans will be fed and that agriculture will become more effective and efficient. Once technology works its wonders on agricultural engineering, automation, and sensors, farmers everywhere will be thankful for a much-need, well-deserved break.
This article was written by Megan Ray Nichols. If you enjoyed this article, please visit her page Schooled by Science.