The Importance of Agriculture Technology
Agriculture technology is permeating the marketplace in a powerful, fast-paced trend, allowing farmers to be far more productive, profitable, environmentally sound, and safer. Recent advances in technology have allowed even the most independent farmers to become more dependent on companies that supply them with basic agricultural technology tools. The use of agriculture technology is spreading from micro-intensive precision agriculture, such as intensive irrigation systems and integrated crop protection products to encompass a wide range of crops and animals, from alfalfa to livestock. With the goal of increasing yield and decreasing commodity prices, agriculture technology benefits are wide-ranging and ever-changing.
One of the largest beneficiaries of advancements in agriculture technology is the industry of livestock production. Advances in breeding methods have dramatically improved the profitability of dairy and beef production. New technologies have enabled raising chickens and turkeys in confined spaces without the use of cages or shacks. Other animal types, such as sheep and poultry, are being raised in large, fenced-in pens that mimic natural environments. Raising livestock in this manner has several benefits for farmers, including the reduction of animal diseases, the prevention of catastrophic loss due to weather, the avoidance of large amounts of fertilizer and feed, and the conservation of water.
Another piece of the overall picture of agriculture technology benefits is the realm of agriculture. Increasingly, farmers are relying more on computers to map their fields and determine the location and intensity of crop fields to improve management. Software programs designed to manage such fields now routinely control soil moisture levels, fertilizing and spraying fields, and monitoring plant growth. The increased accuracy of these computer programs means less time is spent grading and planning next year’s harvest, increasing the likelihood of revenue increases. In the past, field surveys had to be performed by hand and using manually crunched data which increased labor costs and yielded less accurate results.
Ag Agriculture has also been one of the first sectors to embrace the advances in farm technology. Many of the applications for farm technologies, such as weather station tracking, livestock health management, and integrated pest management, were initially developed or adapted by agricultural producers themselves. For example, moisture sensors, which allow farmers to detect early signs of plant stress, and hydrophobic soil bacteria sensors, which allow farmers to test their soils for nutrients, are becoming more commonplace on farms. With all the advancements in farm technology, there is now more potential for collaboration among farmers, ranchers, and businesses to make farming more efficient and profitable.
One major disadvantage of agriculture technology, according to many experts, is the relatively high maintenance cost involved with implementing it. Technological innovations can reduce labor costs and increase profits, but they come at a fairly high price. Computers, sensors, and other technologies do not come cheap. For example, sensors that help identify and locate insect infestations can cost several thousand dollars, putting the entire operation of an agricultural operation at risk. Additionally, farmers will need to purchase tractors and other heavy equipment to run the machinery that was designed to perform these tasks.
Another disadvantage of using modern technology in agriculture is the decrease in quality of life and environmental safety that comes with chemical fertilizers and pesticides. These chemicals leach into the water supply and pose a risk to the health of humans and animals. Additionally, farmers have to spend thousands of dollars cleaning up after the application of these chemicals. Furthermore, some scientists believe that modern technology could pose a threat to food supplies. Advances in genetic engineering have created crops with increased yields, but farmers still need to use the same practices they have always used in order to maintain a sustainable food supply.
One area where there has been a significant advancement in agriculture is the practice of crop rotation. The most popular form of crop rotation is the “green” system, which involves growing a set of similar crops together and then switching them around every three or four years to keep the soil rich and healthy. Biotech advancements have made it possible to grow crops without the use of pesticides or herbicides. This allows farmers to focus more on producing quality harvests with limited amounts of work. In addition, the practice of crop rotation reduces greenhouse gases caused by soil erosion and heat stress.
Because of the need for large amounts of electricity and water, farmers often have to build extensive storage facilities to store their produce. Advances in agriculture technology have made it possible to harvest plants at peak times to ensure that there is enough food on the table when consumers return home from vacation. The combination of high-quality seeds and fertilizers, as well as protective machinery, make it possible to grow the majority of the fruits and vegetables that are produced within a given year. As technology continues to develop, new agricultural machinery is being introduced to increase productivity and profits. With so much potential for improvement in the field of agriculture, the opportunities for growth and expansion are vast.