Farm tech 2.0: how agriculture technology is changing the world

The days of analogue agriculture are gone, and technology is changing the
world of farming for the better. Welcome to the era of farm tech 2.0.

There are, pretty much, two images that are associated with farming: either the stereotypical simple folk farmer in the countryside, going about their day in a sturdy old tractor, or the money-hungry corporations that exploit land and people with their aggressive farming techniques and toxic pesticides.
But a new breed of startups and tech-savvy farms are tackling stereotypes head-on. After years of plowing the farm tech field, the future of agriculture belongs to entrepreneurs able and willing to revolutionize one of the oldest occupations in the world.

Farm tech 2.0 is here and has limitless potential. But what is it exactly?

What’s farm tech?

Farm tech refers to the technologies used in agriculture. But what does the “2.0” entail? Farm tech 2.0 is nothing more than the newest, most innovative agriculture technologies being developed. This seismic shift adds environmental concerns to the productivity goals of new tech, to form a more comprehensive view of agricultural innovation. Farm Tech 2.0 is far from academical. If a few decades ago, farmers would have been told that AI, machine learning and robots could improve temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, watering systems, or disease detection, they’d have laughed. But tell it to a modern farmer today, and they’ll double down and explain how this will not only increase yields but also ensure high quality and increased market value.

Farm tech comprises the tools and machinery employed in agriculture, as well as the software and techniques that keep being developed and improved. Farm tech 2.0 is the lovechild of agriculture and high tech—and we’re excited!

Why? What’s the fuss all about?

Some examples of farm tech are hydroponics, vertical farming, weather forecasting and tracking, soil and moisture monitoring sensors, GIS software and GPS agriculture, gene editing technology, cellular agriculture, and so on. Sound weird? Remember that the plow, invented around 5000 years ago in Egypt, probably also sounded weird, and still revolutionized agriculture. Same with fertilizers and, later, with biotechnologies.

Farm tech helps agriculture become more efficient, safer, more profitable, and much more environmentally friendly. This will affect the prices, availability, safety, and quality of food, as well as the environmental and ecological impact. The UN and the FAO recognize that “agricultural technology will have a beneficial impact on and a key role in the successful implementation of the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, namely increasing food security, promoting sustainable agricultural practices, enhancing crop productivity, and even fighting climate change.

So, that’s a very justified fuss.

The trends in farm tech 2.0 that are changing the world

AI and ML are making their way into our daily lives quick and swiftly. And the same goes for agriculture. Farm tech is growing into its 2.0 version, and is about to rely more heavily on AI, ML, blockchain and data collection to make agriculture more sustainable, environment friendly, profitable, and efficient. These are the key trends revolutionizing farm tech:

1. Aerial imaging

Aerial imaging using drone technology and satellite imaging is becoming a go-to in farm management. Farm tech such as this allows farmers to monitor crop variations and potential problems more efficiently than from the ground. This, allied with agriculture apps, makes field monitoring much easier, not only increasing profits but also ensuring more sustainability in farming.

2. Intelligent crop planning

Crop planning involves leveraging AI and remote sensing to identify best sowing windows, to analyze and optimize sowing areas, to track crop progress, or map irrigation, to name a few. AI within agriculture is also being used to provide insights on crop varieties, diseases, or even to predict which crops will deliver the highest returns. That means not only sparing resources and making their usage more efficient but also saving costs and unnecessary expenses, or even avoiding food loss.

3. Smart farming

While IoT devices may not sound exactly like farm tech, such technology is extremely useful in an agricultural context. But how? The easiest, most straightforward answer is sensors. Intelligent farming uses light, humidity, moisture, temperature, or pH sensors, among others. Some prime use-cases of IoT in farm tech are data collection by farm sensors like wearables, button cameras, robotics, or control systems, geo fencing via IoT sensors combined with livestock tracking, or predictive analytics for weather—rainfall, temperature, humidity.

Smart farming

Source: Freepik

4. Precision agriculture

Precision agriculture, although not a new concept, is still a priority for farm tech. It is based on using precise amounts of water, fertilizer, pesticides, for example, at the correct time in order to increase the productivity of the crop and maximize yields. It relies heavily on intelligent planning and smart farming.

5. Data integration

In a data-driven world, data-driven agriculture makes sense. High volumes of data on costs, weather, soil type, and even markets can and will improve farming methods, as well as help farmers’ decision process. Farm tech relies on data integration to make it easier for farmers to make real-time decisions and adjustments, a pillar for sustainability.

6. Weather forecasting & climate-smart harvesting

The Farmer’s Almanac has given North American farming a lot of good predictions in over two centuries, but nowadays weather forecasting is more about in-field sensors that allow for real-time accurate readings of wind, rainfall, and temperature. If combined weather forecasting data management, farmers have the farm tech 2.0 they need to optimize processes like spraying, irrigating, harvesting windows, and so on.

7. Blockchain in food supply

And finally, blockchain is improving communication among farmers, markets, and consumers, namely in the food supply chain. This can solve some problems that prevail in food safety, quality, traceability, or food supply chain inefficiency.

Partner up to get your project out there

The modern farmer is not only tech savvy but makes use of a handful of apps to optimize farming, maximize profits and improve sustainability. From weather monitoring or field mapping apps directly on smartphone, to AI-powered software, farm tech is changing agriculture by the minute.

Thinking about jumping onto the farm tech ship, and need help with your next project? Let’s talk about it!

At Near Partner we’re a diverse team of developers with several areas of expertise, and we’re ready to collaborate with you and get the best solutions for your business, be it smart apps or AI tools, or even a cool sensor. Still unsure about what route to take? Let’s brainstorm and jumpstart your business together: get in touch!

Sérgio Cunha

I have been a developer for longer than I can remember (well... maybe not). Does that sum up everything about me? I love tech, but I’m also a husband and a father, I love to learn new stuff and experiment with life."Hack hard and prosper!" has been my latest motto. Take good care of yourself and the rest will follow…