What will AI do for farmers and their business?
Artificial intelligence is taking the world by a storm. Industry by industry, AI is changing the way things are done and disrupting established practices. Now, there is a $5 trillion industry that is poised to be disrupted by AI next: farming.
AI can help farms make better decisions
Farms produce hundreds of thousands of data points every day. It’s just that much of it goes missed, and none of it ever gets used by farmers, let alone seen by them. But with artificial intelligence, farmers can utilize the data and leverage it to optimize their operations.
Through artificial intelligence, all the data that comes from weather, temperature, water usage, soil conditions, and other variables, can be collected and analyzed. This can also lead to better forecast of weather patterns and allow farmers to prepare ahead of time. With such capabilities from AI, farmers can make more informed decisions that will boost their productivity.
AI can help farms become more efficient
It is no news that there are less and less people entering the farming profession. Rural communities are seeing their working age population flock to the cities. Under such conditions, efficiency is a critical factor for farmers all over the country. Farming is in general a very labor-intensive industry, and without the manpower, the workload can quickly overwhelm farmers.
This is where AI can definitely come into play. Automation and machine learning can allow farmers to do more with less.
Autonomous vehicles are one example of how bots powered by AI can help. Farmers can do multi-person tasks such as harvesting with only themselves, by synching multiple vehicles as one. There are many versions of this currently in development and in market, such as Raven Industry’s Autocart, which can be fitted into an existing tractor, or John Deere’s latest autonomous tractor concept, the Joker.
But it’s not just with tractors. Through AI, weed treatment can be specialized down to the individual plant. One such solution called ‘See & Spray’ is yet another innovation from John Deere that is currently being tested by farmers. This technology allows users to reduce herbicide use by 40% to 50%, which is a game changer overall.
The current challenges facing agriculture are significant. Climate change is leading to irregular weather patterns. The labor situation in rural communities are worsening. But as it always has been, humanity’s most fundamental industry will take on these challenges through innovation and technology. Artificial intelligence is agriculture’s next frontier.