The agriculture sector is going through a process of digitization, which has accelerated post-Covid. 2022 is going be a critical year for a sector that has seen unprecedented disruption over the last two years. Will 2022 be the comeback year for digital agriculture? Here are a few trends to watch out for.
Here are some of the key trends to watch out for in 2022:
Drones have been around for some time but their adoption has been limited to large farmers. That may change after the world realised value of remote monitoring during the lockdown phase. From crop yield to detecting pests or diseases to spraying pesticides or fertilizers on crops, we may see way more drones over farms in coming years.
Water is becoming more and more scarce as the global population increases. Agriculture accounts for 70% of water consumption, and 15-20% of global crop production is lost to water shortages. Agriculture experts are using sensors to monitor the soil moisture levels and adjust them accordingly through irrigation or by controlling humidity in greenhouses. Growth in hydroponic startups, usage of smart sensors for irrigation and research in drought resistant crops will be fast accelerated in 2022.
In the past, farmers have been reluctant to share information. However, the farm data ecosystem has evolved in last two years. From procurement to credit to specialty foods such as organic have created models where farmers are benefitting from data sharing. The discussions around data privacy and farmer’s control over data will take more concrete form in 2022.
The health of the soil is becoming an increasingly important factor in agricultural production. However, numerous factors can affect soil health, such as climate change, pests, and diseases. In order to maintain healthy soil, farmers are using sensors to track things such as pH levels and nutrient levels. Sensors are becoming smaller and portable and spectrometry is getting more and more accurate. We may see soil data being included in traceability parameters very soon.
Automation is playing an increasing role in agriculture. For example, tractors and harvesters are now being equipped with sensors and software that allow them to operate autonomously. Automation reduces the need for human intervention, which can be expensive and time-consuming and also helps improve accuracy and efficiency.
Indoor vertical farming is a type of agriculture done in a controlled environment, such as a greenhouse or a factory. It has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the increasing demand for food and the decreasing availability of land. Indoor vertical farming allows crops to be grown all year round, using less water and fewer pesticides. It also helps reduce the “food miles” involved in traditional agriculture.
In the past, it has been difficult to predict the yield of a crop until the harvest was done; this is because several factors, such as weather conditions and pests, can affect the yield. However, with the increasing use of sensors and data analytics, it is now possible to make accurate predictions about the yield of a crop. Forecasts allow farmers to plan their production and help reduce wastage.
Carbon credits and agriculture. It is no longer just an idea. Agriculture is among the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses but it is also the sector where the most promising solutions may come. Verifying carbon-capture claims accounts for about 75% of the cost of generating credits and transferring the benefits back to small farmers remains a large part of the problem. With the likes of Microsoft and Bayer entering the field, we will see the practice grow in 2022.
Field mapping creates a digital representation of each field that can be analyzed on a computer screen. Digital maps enable farmers to accurately record the locations of different crops, the boundaries between fields, and irrigation lines. In addition, digitalization allows these maps to be shared with other agricultural community members.
Regenerative agriculture is an approach that seeks to improve soil health and biodiversity rather than just maximizing yields. This involves various techniques, such as crop rotation and cover crops. It has also been linked to climate change mitigation due to storing carbon in the soil. Digital information sharing allows companies operating in this field to share information and techniques in order to optimize their performance.
Digital agriculture is at the same time a cause and an effect of the increasing digitization of our society. Digital information sharing allows farmers to accurately measure their resources and manage them in the most efficient way possible. Digital information sharing, in turn, makes it easier for them to adopt new technologies such as regenerative agriculture or indoor vertical farming. Digital technology provides tools that can help to make farming practices more sustainable and less detrimental to the planet. Digital agriculture helps to reduce costs, improve crop yields, and increase food production. Digital information sharing also benefits consumers as companies can respond more quickly to consumer needs and demands.
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