The global population is expected to increase by over 30% by 2050, while the total amount of arable land under cultivation is projected to grow by approximately 5% by that same year. Therefore, significant technological advances need to be achieved with the agribusiness industry in order to secure an adequate food supply during the coming decades. Some promising measures in this regard are the revamping of under-productive farms and advances in precision farming, which represents a vital industry bound to grow and innovate over the coming decades. International investors within the agribusiness industry estimate that the precision farming and operation optimizations sectors will be worth well over US$230 billion over the coming decades.
The Forefront of Agricultural Output and Technology
The practice of incorporating scientific and mechanical technology in order to maximize output throughout farming processes was massively streamlined in the United States during the 1970s. Since then, these practices have spread to countries like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Argentina, amongst others. Nevertheless, during the 21st century, as these precision farming and output-optimization techniques become increasingly widespread and accessible, it is expected that they will reach under-productive agricultural operations throughout the world. Another important element that will determine the future of precision agriculture is the speed at which research and development progresses. As these technologies become easier to use and more affordable they will represent a wide- spectrum of opportunity for farmers.
The aim of precision agriculture is to grow more food using the same or fewer resources, which is particularly important given the increasing urbanization of societies and the decreasing amount of rural labor supply. Within precision farming, there are several sectors to keep in mind when it comes to increasing agricultural yields. Firstly, mechanization and the use of autonomous vehicles, such as crop collection trucks and tractors, are a promising advance. As new transportation systems start to offer clients the option of autonomous vehicles in urban environments, this same technology can also be employed in wide-open farm operations. One or more autonomous tractors can be deployed quickly and efficiently throughout vast agricultural properties with minimal human supervision. Furthermore, these vehicles can perform a variety of functions from crop planting to harvest collection and soil fertilizing.
Another aspect of precision agriculture is the incorporation of drones as a faster and more effective way of monitoring crop growth and performance. Advanced data gathering through drones provides farmers with information that would otherwise be extremely costly to gather, such as soil temperatures, climate conditions throughout the property, watering needs, and moisture levels, amongst other elements. Drones can be used to survey and customize each hectare of farmland efficiently allowing farmers to diversify their production while optimizing land use. In this regard, precision agriculture facilitates practices such as agroforestry and provides an alternative to monoculture. In fact, at Farmfolio, we have already integrated many of these practices and technologies into our operations in Colombia and Panama. From drone technology to the newest tractors, Farmfolio’s operations are at the forefront of precision farming in their respective countries and sectors.