The 9 billion mark by way of the world’s projected population appears to be looming over the horizon much closer than what we may have originally anticipated, with the indication being that we’ll be reaching that mark as early as 2050. Naturally a huge spike in agricultural consumption will follow, which will demand more of the farming techniques used to keep up with what is essentially set to be a population explosion. Some technology is already being developed and deployed though, so the 21st century farm is already taking shape nicely.
Drones and autonomous vehicles seem to be the two frontrunners by way of emerging farming technology that is undergoing some rapid development.
Drones in general have many uses, but those which have been specifically developed for the agricultural industry naturally boast specific features which are useful out in the crop fields. The typical drone is able to irrigate crops and even plant, spray and monitor them with greater precision and ease than a traditional farmer could ever be expected to.
The completion of physical agricultural tasks isn’t all that drones are about however, with the most standard of them carrying features that are of a more analytical nature. Crop yield can be modelled and estimated with greater accuracy, at a fraction of the price with which it would have previously been modelled. Drone technology is much cheaper than what would have otherwise been satellite technology used to complete these tasks like time-series animations of how the crop is developing.
Autonomous farm vehicles
While the autonomous driving technology which goes into the vehicles developed largely seems to be focussed on the transportation industry, the agriculture industry has an equal if not greater thirst for it.
If you look at the application of this technology within the agriculture industry, what something like an autonomous tractor would mean for a farmer is that they can complete various labour-heavy tasks remotely. The farmer would not have to be behind the steering wheel for the tractor he’d be controlling to complete tasks such as scraping, drilling, spraying and even seeding. He would be able to oversee this from the safety of his shed or some or other room, for example.
A hot feature of this autonomous vehicle technology for the agricultural sector is that of the automated combine harvester, which simply allows for harvesting to be completed on the same crop field. Johnathan Gill, Martin Abell and Kit Franklin make up the team of engineers from the Harper Adams University (Shropshire) who are overseeing the development of this technology that drives automated agriculture vehicles.
The importance of farm equipment insurance
For a number of different reasons, farmers have their own preferences when it comes to the farming methods they make use of. So whether you’re the complete 21st century farmer who uses these drones and automated vehicles, or if you’re more of a traditionalist farmer, either way, insurance is important. You need to cover your equipment with the appropriate farm insurance, with the likes of Lycetts specialising in offering tailored insurance solutions for all the different types of machinery, buildings, office content and even your produce.