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What The 21st century Farm Might Look Like

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PwC recently reported that agricultural consumption will need to increase by close to 70% cent by 2050 to account forthe world’s growing population. Fortunately, technology is advancing, with developments being made to aid theindustry. Two main areas of interest and research are drones and autonomous vehicles. We take a closer look at how tech might help farmers of the future.

Farming drones

Global market revenue from the sales of drones is expected to increase by 34% to reach over £4.8 million in 2017  and USresearch experts Gartner haVE predicted that production figures will jump by 39 % this year compared the numbers recorded in 2016.They offer numerous benefits…

Planting

Systems created by start-up companies can help reduce the costs of planting by as much as 85% New tech enables  drones to shoot pods with seeds as well as plant nutrients into the soil, enabling plants to receive the nutrients they need to sustain life.

Irrigation

They can be fitted with remote sensing equipment —multispectral, hyperspectral or thermal sensing systems. The techwill identify the driest sections of a field and then allow farmers to allocate their water resources more economically.

Spray and monitor

They can scan the ground of a farm and then spray the correct amount of liquid once the distance from the ground has been modulated. It’ll mean even coverage will be achieved and the amount of chemicals penetrated into groundwater will be reduced.

Time-series animations through the drones will be able to display the exact development of a crop and detail any inefficiencies with production. These kinds of insights would have previously only been gained by satellite imagery.

Autonomous farm vehicles

A report by Business Insider Intelligence has forecasted that there will be close to 10 million cars available which will have either semi-autonomous or fully autonomous capabilities.Added to that , management consulting firm Bain has estimated that the global opportunity for assistive and autonomous technologies for the business-to-business market will be somewhere in the range of $22 to $26 billion per year by 2025.

Specific to farming,  a team of agricultural engineers from the Harper Adams University in Shropshire have set about creating an autonomous tractor which can perform tasks like the drilling, seeding and spraying of land while being steered by a farmer who is positioned in a control room. The same team are also looking into how an automated combine harvester can be used to then harvest the same field.

In France, inventor Christophe Millot has been successful in creating a vine-pruning robot. Developed as a counter to a shortage in farm labour, the latest-generation model of the four-wheeled gadget is made up of six cameras, two arms and a tablet computer found inside the robot.

Insurance

It remains important to ensure that anyequipment is insured.Farm insurance from a leading insurance broker such asLycetts will give land owners and farmers peace of mind.

Sources:

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601935/six-ways-drones-are-revolutionizing-agriculture/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-38089984

https://www.fginsight.com/news/surge-in-drone-sales-sparks-farmer-concern-18916

http://www.croplife.com/equipment/farming-drones-the-future-of-agriculture/

http://uk.businessinsider.com/report-10-million-self-driving-cars-will-be-on-the-road-by-2020-2015-5-6?r=US&IR=T

http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/an-autonomous-car-roadmap-for-suppliers.aspx

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4496498/Hands-free-farming-using-autonomous-tractors-drones.html

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