Digitally Transforming Agriculture

Digitally Transforming Agriculture

 A timeline of Agricultural Advancements

The changes brought about by Industry 4.0 has had an enormous impact on the agricultural sector as well, bringing about significant agricultural improvements with the Industry 4.0 technologies like IoT, AI and more. 

Agriculture has always been one of the world’s oldest most vital industries, and one that was drastically transformed in the most recent revolution called the Green revolution, with the introduction of high yielding crops. Recently the industry is undergoing another revolution – a digital one, that’s helping to reach the industry’s fullest economic potential.

Ignored by many is the fact that, like the industrial revolutions, the Agriculture Industry has been evolving too, often hand in hand with the industries. The advancements in Agriculture can be organized into 4 stages or revolutions per se:

The adoption of modern agriculture: Pre 1900s

The 18th century was a time of rapid innovation and experimentation. This was a time when farmers adopted efficient modern tools, developed scientifically backed methods of crop rotation, the timing of fallow, use of manure and more. This specialization of Agriculture leads to the urbanization and the industrial revolution that followed.

The post WW1 mechanization: 1920s

With the invention of the Internal Combustion engine, the world saw an increasing number of mechanized tools which consequently resulted in a generally increased farm productivity. The reduced reliance on manual labour and horse-drawn ploughs also meant extensive crop varieties emerged and a variety of new kinds of food were introduced in our diets.

The Green Revolution:1960s-1970

The 1960s saw the birth of biotechnologies and genetically modified agricultural products and an increased application of scientific development of strains and breeding of varieties of crops. This brought about the Green revolution, which upon introducing new, strong and high yielding crop varieties coupled with the widespread use of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers resulted in a tripped global grain output. The new technologies resulted in commercialization and corporatization of food production and agribusiness now went on a multinational scale.

The Digital Revolution (Present)

And finally, we come to the ongoing exciting digital revolution which has resulted in IoT assisted SMART farms with appliance relay controllers and environment monitoring which is slowly but surely transforming the agriculture industry as we know it.

How did it change? 

Traditional labour-intensive farms and farming methods are slowly giving way to SMART farming or precision farms which utilizes the latest technologies, introduced in Industry 4.0, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine learning (ML) Big Data, Analytics and more to make the process more efficient and productive, based on precise, sustainable and resource-efficient solutions.

The connected farm: Unlike in the past where each stage of farming and area of the farm was disconnected and to a certain extent left up to fate, SMART farms make use of sensors in every stage of the farming process and attached to farming equipment like light sensors, temperature sensors, humidity sensors and PH sensors to keep track of every move. These sensors will scan and collect data on the water, soil and the weather for environment monitoring, and the generated report will go to the farmer. 

SMART farming also involves drones, for imaging, planting crops and more. This helps give the farmer a much-desired bird’s eye view of the farm and help in real-time monitoring. This even involves reduced labour and increased productivity with Agribots or robots in agriculture which help in planting, repairing machinery and analyzing data. Thus the modern farm is an interconnected setup of sensors, drones, AI with a quick exchange of data and prompt action.

What now?

Despite the advancements, a lot of the world is still behind, due to lack of knowledge and a certain extent of mistrust in technology and we too, are still in the early stages of Digital revolution in agriculture. However the scope of improvement of efficiency and farm productivity is massive in the coming years and we, at Thingstel are only too happy to speak to and assist farmers to equip themselves with these most recent advancements as it happens, to reduce waste and improve their efficiency. You can also get in touch with us if you have any questions or doubts about this!

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