Americas Future Agriculture
What if farmers could take back control of agriculture with the help of technology? Today’s state of agriculture is not even close to or compared to what it was thirty years ago. We as Americans, are finally beginning to take seriously the notion that what and how we grow food, raise livestock, and use agricultural equipment to ease agricultural activities has its impacts. For centuries, farmers have looked for ways to be as efficient as possible and as results show, the trend is alive and well today, with new and even greater innovation on the horizon. If agriculture is to continue to feed the world, it needs to become more like manufacturing. Fortunately, that is just the tip of the iceberg of today’s growing technological agricultural sector. There have been a lot of improvements in technology in U.S. agriculture in the last decade. While there continue to be advancements in GMO crops, the biggest changes to hit the industry in the last decade have to do more with precision farming. GPS technology has allowed for the delivery of the correct amounts of fertilizer, chemicals, and seed population, and other inputs, as well as moisture to every part of the field yield measurements taken while the crop is being harvested, have helped farms plan better for their next crop. GPS has also allowed for the introduction of auto-steer technology on combines and other equipment. Mobile devices have also increased efficiency in allowing farmers to stay on top of market changes.
Farmers across the United States are showing increasing interest in numbers in robotic milking machines. The machine allows cows to be milked whenever they like, and because the computer knows what is correct, the teats are perfectly aligned each time, resulting in better animal welfare, while boosting farm efficiency. Even some farmers innovate the positives of robot livestock feeders, that ensure that the livestock gets a consistent ration of food. Cattle and Dairy Farmers are using cow heat detection devices, used to electronically monitor cows so they can calve at the right time. The collar detects raised levels of physical activity hourly and this data is used to boost pregnancy rates. Farmers are desired to have combine harvester yield monitors, which monitor, display and record grain yield alongside moisture content, speed, area, work rate and harvest rate. This technology allows farmers to map the yield across harvesting and apply the correct amount of fertilizer.
Agricultural robots are used to automate agricultural processes, such as harvesting, fruit picking, plowing, soil maintenance, weeding, planting, and irrigation. Farming management based on observing intra-field variations. With satellite imagery and advanced sensors, farmers can optimize returns on inputs while preserving resources at even larger scales. A natural extension of urban agriculture, vertical farms would cultivate plant or animal life within dedicated or mixed-use skyscrapers in urban settings. Using techniques similar to glass houses, vertical farms could augment natural light using energy-efficient lighting. There are numerous advantages to vertical farming including year-round crop production, protection from weather, support urban food autonomy and reduced transport costs. Aerial drones increasingly being used by farmers to field monitoring.
Vertical farming can create business opportunities. The centralization and specialization of food production have put considerable distance between consumers and their food, both figuratively and literally. By creating vertical, urban food production, we can narrow that gap and give more consumers what they want: local food produced more transparently and sustainably, with less waste and fewer impacts.
Newer generations in thirty or forty years from now will likely consume a diet consisting of mealworms and crickets even though it doesn’t sound appetizing; it will likely conserve livestock and crops; which would curve hunger and eliminate depletion of resources. Scientists right now in 2018, are talking about lab-grown meat which would help overpopulated areas with a scarcity of resources. A dairy farm in Canada uses manure from 50 cows to create biogas that is used for powering an electric generator. Precision farming will reduce farm water usage by five times and super greenhouses cut growing times nearly in half.
Genetically superior animals have had a great impact on the production of domestic species. Selective genetics has become very popular with numerous livestock class show exhibitors and show class production livestock companies. Selective genetics involves research into the show market and commercial production feeds. Some agricultural scientists even look within the genetics of the livestock breed.
Animal scientists have attempted for many years to learn how to control the sex of newborn animals. The ability to produce males in the beef industry would allow the farm or rancher to raise steers from all female cows. Dairy farmers would be able to obtain replacement heifers from their best cows every year. Poultry farmers could raise more broilers than pullets, therefore sustaining the U.S. chicken industry.
Field crops such as corn and tobacco are programmed with recombinant DNA Technology to produce high-value-added pharmaceuticals. Crops like tomato and muskmelon are addressed with r-DNA technology to produce edible vaccines. This is termed as biopharming where plants act as bioreactors and harvested to produce drugs and then purified. The potential of this technology is the economy of the process. It is much cheaper to produce the drugs from the plants. Nevertheless, the biopharmed crops should be distinct from food crops so that food security is not threatened. Some scientists predict that a decade that plants will be able to convert sunlight into biomass energy. The potential yield increases could help smallholder farmers raise standards of living in their communities.
Seed companies, universities, and government agencies are developing sophisticated systems for tracking harmful pests. If wind, atmospheric pressure, and other factors forecast a high-risk zone in their area, a system that monitors the specific insect can send email alerts to farmers days in advance, to notify them of the risk of an insect invasion. The more accurately modern agriculture can use data to track pest migration, the more precisely farmers can deploy methods of crop protection. Advances like this can empower farmers to use less insecticide, more effectively. Thermographic imaging, like the technology used in night vision goggles, can monitor the surface temperature of certain crops. When the leaves reach a certain threshold, one can assume the plant is in a state of stress and needing attention. By using highly sensitive remote sensors, these digital tools can spot trouble well before signs of wilting, browning, or discoloration. With these early alerts, farmers can know exactly which plants are and which are compromised
Cover crops are increasingly viewed as a crucial way to build soil health and resilience, in the result of extreme weather patterns, low commodity prices and costs to the farmer. Cover crops?involve?planting something on the field during?the?offseason,?so there’s always something growing. Keeping something growing holds the soil in place, and when the cover crops grow and die they add organic matter, attracting microorganisms,?adding nutrients?–?and?creating healthier soils Over time, cover crops built up organic matter in his soil, reducing the need to purchase as much commercial fertilizer.??Cover crops have decreased soil erosion and have created better yields for both farmers and consumers.
Advanced chemistry and spraying technology have been a valuable crop protection tool for decades. The most modern innovations like chemical solutions combined with spray nozzles and guidance systems, offer unprecedented levels of precision. Advanced farming software platforms can take the data farmers are collecting about yield, fertility, and pest pressures, analyze that data, and provide a recommended prescription for applying crop protection products, for all of this is accessible via mobile devices.
Some predict that we may be farming on Mars or the moon in 20 years, the future of agriculture is unknown and will be the ultimate unthinkable. Whether we have robots fertilizing our fields or computer models analyzing how much rainfall agricultural establishments need to keep their crops sustainable, American agriculture and ranching will always thrive and grow as the pillars to a booming economy. The future of agriculture may be a little astounding for you to hear but the truth is America is taking the U.S. Agricultural sector to the next level.