Agriculture is a primary occupation in many nations across the globe. With a growing population (which, according to UN forecasts, will rise from 7.6 billion in 2020 to 9.7 billion in 2050), agriculture is becoming increasingly important. Farming has been transformed by technology over the years, and technical advancements like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have the potential to transform the way we think about agriculture. The increasing prevalence of the internet of things (IoT) in the agriculture business, rising demand for high crop production, expanding focus on enhanced crop management, and rising use of drones for pesticide spraying are all positive trends influencing the market.
While Artificial Intelligence sees a lot of direct applications and can also bring a paradigm shift in the agriculture industry. AI-powered solutions will not only enable farmers to do more with less, but AI will also ensure a faster go-to-market for crops thereby ensuring quality.
Artificial Intelligence helps acquire information about soil health, make fertilizer suggestions, and track the product readiness, thus allowing farmers to obtain better outcomes with less labor while also providing a slew of other advantages. All of this helps farmers make better judgments at every stage of the crop-growing process. Farmers may also use AI to handle critical difficulties, including analyzing market demand, projecting pricing, and deciding the best time to sow and harvest.
Artificial Intelligence in agriculture will aid in cost savings
Precision agriculture is a term used to describe how AI systems are helping to enhance overall harvest quality and accuracy. Farms are generating hundreds of data points about temperature, soil, water use, weather, and other factors on an everyday basis. This data is being used in real-time with artificial intelligence and machine learning models to derive important insights such as when to sow seeds, which crops to plant, which hybrid seeds to plant for higher yields, spot areas that require irrigation, etc. In addition, novel farming techniques such as vertical agriculture may also improve food output while reducing resource consumption. AI technology also aids in the detection of plant disease, pests, and poor agricultural nutrition. AI sensors can identify target weeds and suggest the best herbicide to use in the area, thus reducing the usage of herbicides, and saving money.
Using Robots for farm harvesting and tackling labor shortages
Agriculture, after Defense, is the second largest industry in which service robots have been deployed for professional use. Agricultural robots and automation in agriculture assists and operate alongside human labor, taking on boring jobs and releasing people from dangerous working circumstances. In an attempt to increase agricultural efficiency, several businesses have introduced autonomous strawberry-picking machines and a vacuum system that can harvest mature apples from trees. Sensor fusion, machine vision, and artificial intelligence models are used by these devices to locate harvestable produce and assist in picking the proper crops.
What stakeholders are doing?
Large-scale agriculture players in the US are already implementing AI technology to increase the speed and accuracy of their planting and crop management procedures. In the upcoming years, the Asia Pacific region is likely to witness enormous growth owing to the high adoption rate of AI in the agriculture industry in key countries like China, India, Japan, and Australia. Furthermore, the Indian AI in the agriculture industry is booming due to increased government and MNCs' efforts to raise knowledge about farm analytics and data sciences among Indian farmers.
A prominent trend in AI in the agriculture industry is the increased usage of smart sensors in agriculture as farmers are benefiting from the development of various operation-specific sensors. To conclude, AI alleviates resource and labor scarcity to a great extent, and it will be a valuable tool for organizations to deal with the increasing complexity of modern agriculture.
With multiple competitors, such as Bayer AG, Deere & Company, AGCO Corporation, Trimble Inc., and Raven Industries Inc., the AI in the agricultural industry is consolidated in nature and there’s fierce competition in the market. It is high time for major firms to see the industry’s potential and invest in it. Some of the notable developments observed in the market, including
- In March 2020, Farmers Edge established an exclusive three-year partnership with Nufarm Brasil, a leading crop protection company, to digitize at least three million acres of farmland in Brazil by 2023. Farmers Edge and Nufarm will combine their talents to provide superior crop protection and the modern tools growers need to make better-informed agronomic decisions and increase profitability.
- Companies like IBM Corporation and Raven Industries Inc. are increasingly partnering with other companies in the agriculture market to improve their services.
- A Germany-based agricultural tech startup Plantix developed a multi-lingual plant disease and pest diagnostic app, which uses various images of the plant to detect diseases.
Road-ahead and the future of AI in farming
Artificial Intelligence solves the scarcity of labor and resources to a large extent. AI will be a powerful tool that can help farmers and the agricultural sector with the increasing amount of complexity in modern agriculture. It is high time that big companies invest in this space. As per the analysis of RationalStat, AI in fields is estimated at US$ 1,100 million in 2022. The market is set to grow at a considerable growth rate of 25% during the forecast period of 2022-2028. To summarize, technology and technological advances to continue redefining farming over the coming years.
Market Research and Consulting | Procurement Market Intelligence
Market Research and Consulting | Productivity and Growth Strategist