Agriculture is the lifeblood of all civilization. The everlasting supply of crops, livestock, and all other farmed consumables is an absolute necessity for the survival of the human race. Our ancestors did this with bare hands and minimal tools, but people grew in population along with time, and supply also needed to grow. So, “less space and human effort to grow more” needed to be introduced and be expanded ever since. Better variants of crops and livestock, all the heavy and intuitive machinery ( like tractors ), and the technological advancements associated with this we have today comes as a byproduct of this particular idea. Recently Artificial intelligence has been getting on this ride to revolutionize the farming we know. That brings us to precision agriculture, or, precision farming.
So, What is precision farming?
The idea of precision farming, or precision agriculture was manifested in the early 1990s, with the introduction of GPS guidance for tractors. What precision farming means fundamentally, is to make every practice that falls under farming more accurate and controlled. So it’s a management approach where every action is calculated and precise. From the appliance of fertilizers and pesticides to harvesting.
Why is it necessary?
One of the primary objectives would be to stop wasting resources. For most of the farmers who follow their intuition when it comes to sowing seeds or applying fertilizers, pesticides there’s a risk involved that they under/overdo this. It leads to financial and productivity loss. So, the agenda for precision farming: less wasted seed, fertilizer, fuel and time, and more production.
What Technology and AI have to do with it?
Modern precision farming requires the use of information technology and a wide array of items such as GPS guidance, control systems, sensors, robotics, drones, autonomous vehicles, variable rate technology, GPS-based soil sampling, automated hardware, telematics, and software.
Artificial intelligence, however, brings an array of revolutionary tools onto this particular table. With modern sensors and tools, it’s possible to get a tremendous amount of data from the farms. From the characteristics of the soil to satellite imaging of farmlands, these data, previously had little to no apparent use. Now an intelligent system can analyze them to make many decisions where risk factors can be minimized. What AI can do in this regard, involves:
- Variable-rate technologies (VRTs) enable farmers to make customized land management decisions to optimize the use of seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides
- Real-time decision support, with devices that are on the ground 24/7
- Fully controlled environment, humidity, temperature for greenhouses which advocates maximum production
- Disease Prevention with image-recognition, predictive analysis and decision supports
- Even a supply chain prediction with a crop compatibility analysis can help farmers make decisions of which crop to grow and how much to grow.
Can developing countries like Bangladesh benefit from precision farming?
Financial conditions are always an obstacle to implementing technology in any case. For the developing countries, this is even closer to the truth. Luckily, though, Some aspects of precision farming might be fairly affordable enough for even the most financially distressed of countries. So, we can say with confidence that the agriculture of Bangladesh can go through significant changes with the help of precision farming. Already an organization named Precision Agriculture for Development is working a partnership with Bangladesh on this matter.
We’ll discuss the possibilities of applying precision farming in Bangladesh in detail, in the next article.
References and Useful Resources
- Deploying precision agriculture in developing countries provides opportunities, challenges – AgBioResearch (msu.edu)
- (PDF) Precision agriculture in the World and its prospect in Bangladesh (researchgate.net)
- Precisionagricultu.re|All precision agriculture tips and tricks
- (PDF) Precision Agriculture in Bangladesh: Need and Opportunities (researchgate.net)
- The Future of Farming – YouTube
Contributor: Istiaq Bin Salam Siaam