The population of the world is ever growing, at a fast pace. The population of the world was estimated to be 7.5 billion in 2017 and projected to grow up to 10 billion by 2050. And the Agricultural industry needs to grow up constantly to feed the ever-growing population.
Agriculture is both a major industry and foundation of the economy of a country. Agriculture is almost a $3 trillion industry employing over 1.5 billion people. During the last century, the crop yields in the developed world have increased by an average of 600%, allowing the food supply to rise dramatically with the growing population, maintaining the stability of the amount of land under cultivation. The agricultural industry is an ever growing one and evolving with time.
Various factors such as climate change, population growth, and food security concerns are driving the industry into seeking innovative approaches to protect and improve the crop yield. Artificial Intelligence is now widely accepted and is steadily emerging as part of the industry’s technological evolution. Artificial intelligence in agriculture will be powered by numerous technological advances, including big data analytics, the internet of things (IoT), the availability of cheap sensors and cameras, drone technology and wide-scale internet coverage on geographically dispersed fields.
AI systems will analyze various data sources such as temperature, weather, soil analysis, moisture, and historic crop performance to provide predictive insights into which crops to plant in a given year and when the optimal dates to sow and harvest are in a specific area, thus improving crop yields. The use of dangerous and expensive chemical fertilizers will be cut down to a huge extent.
Another major benefit of the AI revolution is saving the crops from pest attacks. AI-powered predictive analytics warns the farmer of increased risks for pest attacks thus strategizing the use of pesticides, reducing their overall requirements. The predictive systems are also beneficial to figure out any genetic defects in the crops or to analyze any defects in the soil quality, thus giving rise to quality produce.
AI has given rise to robots designed and irrigation systems for crops. Robots are developed to differentiate the weeds from the crops and eliminate the former without causing any damage to the harvest. Few robots are developed to help farmers, especially the ones who grow berries and coffee beans to pick and pack their crops. Similarly, the irrigation systems are upgraded with the help of Artificial Intelligence systems helping the farmers water their fields only when necessary and that too just the amount of water needed, thus saving water and energy.
Artificial Intelligence is widely used in livestock farming. Computer vision systems help to identify and track individual animals and analyze their weight via an intelligent camera application. Thus, the farmer can optimize the animal to it’s and improve the profitability and time to market the product. AI systems can also help to find any diseases the animal can get and find optimal treatment.
Artificial intelligence plays an important role in the agricultural industry and is of great importance to the world. Higher crop productivity and decreased use of water, fertilizer, and pesticides reduce the exhaustion of our natural ecosystems, increasing the worker safety, keeping the food prices down and ensuring the food production system to keep up the pace with the increasing population while keeping our planet safe.