Artificial Intelligence(AI) is gaining a lot of momentum these days. In recent times we have been witnessing its application in many industries. The time is not far when AI will slowly start penetrating our daily lives. Agriculture is the most crucial sector for any country, let’s try to understand the applications of Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture sector.
Before we see how Artificial Intelligence can be used or how it’s being used in Agriculture, let’s quickly understand what exactly is Artificial Intelligence.
Artificial Intelligence is a field where a computer or system is taught to make decisions based on a large amount of data provided to the system. The ultimate goal is to make a system or computer think like humans by understanding the patterns, and data sets.
Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture sector
Uses of AI in Agriculture
Let’s go over the uses of Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture
Crop Monitoring is one of the crucial tasks for Farmers. It requires a lot of skill and experience. Farmers have to make sure that crops are in a healthy stage to get a good yield.
How can AI help us here? Using Drones and Sensors, a lot of data can be captured such as soil moisture, weather parameters, insect attacks, etc, which can be analyzed by AI system. AI can generate health reports based on data, which can be used by agriculture experts to increase yields.
Drones are equipped with cameras, they can be flown over the field to capture high-quality images. By analyzing the images and data collected, farmers can identify issues early and take necessary actions. This helps to reduce crop loss and increase yields.
As part of this Crop Monitoring, AI can also help us predict crop yields and prices. By analyzing all the parameters that AI has along with the historical data, AI algorithms can make accurate predictions about crop yields and prices. This in turn is going to help farmers taking cautious decisions about plantation and harvesting. This can help farmers to avoid overproduction, which can lead to lower prices, and also avoid underproduction, which can lead to shortages.
Another important application of Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture is to optimize the irrigation system. Water being a critical resource must be used effectively and efficiently.
Some of the factors that affect crop yield are Rain, Temperature, and Moisture. AI can get weather data from satellites, and weather stations and analyze the weather patterns. By analyzing weather patterns, crop growth, and soil moisture, AI algorithms can predict when and how much water is needed for the optimal growth of crops. AI can help us reduce water consumption.
Pests are a major threat to crops. They can destroy the crops, making a direct impact on farmer’s income. Artificial Intelligence can help us here too. When Drones are flown over the fields, the sensors can detect harmful insects, and wherever needed the Drones can spray the pesticides, making sure that only affected plants are treated, as opposed to the manual spray by farmers where there are chances that pesticides get sprayed on plants that aren’t infected.
AI can record this information, analyze it, and can predict when pesticides are really needed. Early detection of diseases is possible using AI, thus helping farmers to get better quality yields.
Yes, AI can be used for Harvesting / Fruit Picking. Robots can harvest or pick fruits. Robots are equipped with high-quality cameras built with image recognition technology, and depending on the parameters the Robots can pick fruits that are mature and disease free. Harvest Robotics company uses Robots to pick fruits, it has automated crop management.
AI can help us with Livestock Management. By using intelligent sensors and cameras livestock can be monitored all the time. Livestock is also a critical resource for Farmers. Farmers are heavily dependent on livestock.
Artificial Intelligence can analyze the data i.e particular livestock’s diet, daily activity, health parameters, etc, and help us understand when it can produce more milk, not only that, with the help of sensors there is also a possibility of disease detection at early stages. The spreading of diseases can be easily stopped which would otherwise affect the whole livestock.
Challenges in Adopting Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture
There are a lot of advantages of using Artificial Intelligence in agriculture but there are a few challenges as well.
Implementing this can be costly, and there also comes the maintenance part, which would again involve cost. For developing nations, it could be costly. Small Farmers may not be able to afford this.
Lack of familiarity with AI
Skilled professionals are needed for implementation, this can be a challenge in some parts of the world.
Upskilling Farmers with Technology
Farmers have been following their traditional method of farming, it’s a real challenge to make them understand the benefits of using Technology in farming. Farmers need to be educated on the tech side i.e, operating machines, understanding AI reports, parameters, etc.
Some farmers may not fully understand the benefits of AI and may be hesitant to invest in these technologies.
As AI systems are mainly dependent on data, so it’s critical that the data captured is of high quality and high accuracy, failing which AI predictions can go wrong. AI systems are only as good as the data they are trained on. Incorrect data will get inaccurate results from AI.
There is also a concern related to jobs. With the adoption of Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture there is also a fear of job loss.
For eg, Robots can harvest crops or pick fruits with much greater speed than humans, one Robot can do the job of 30 humans in just a few hours. Hence there is a fear that AI may eat up such jobs.
Need to move towards Modern Farming
With the increase in the global population, traditional farming methods may not meet the increasing food production demand or requirements. And moreover, we may run out of space. Nations may see more challenges in coming years considering climate change, water scarcity, etc.
To tackle these challenges, some nations have started using cutting-edge technology in agriculture such as vertical farming, controlled environment farming, Aquaponics farming, Hydroponic farming, and Robotic farming. Israel is a world leader in agriculture technology.
Moving towards modern farming practices can help address some of the major challenges that the agriculture sector is facing today.
AI is transforming the way we have been doing agriculture, making it more efficient, sustainable, and profitable. By using AI in agriculture, farmers can collect and analyze large amounts of data, monitor crops, and optimize irrigation systems. With the continued development of AI, we can expect to see even more innovations in the field of agriculture and also solutions to tackle the challenges in implementing it.
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