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The Theme - the EITA-New Agriculture Workshop

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign_031422A
[The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign]
 
 

 

 "The Future of Agriculture (Agriculture 4.0): Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Directions"

 

  <Draft>

 

1. Overview

- Our Current Food System 

By 2050, the planet's population could reach 9.5 billion, requiring an 80 percent increase in agricultural production. Achieving this goal will require innovative technologies to increase agricultural efficiency and optimize existing inputs. 

As the population increases, the world faces climate change, rising fossil fuel prices, ecosystem degradation and scarcity of water and land – all of which make today's food production methods increasingly unsustainable. Our currently dominant food system focuses on increasing production of a limited number of crops and animals, a system that is highly dependent on inputs to increase production in the short term. However, such a system ignores biological realities, pollutes the environment, endangers public health, and cannot be sustained in the long term. 

Water_Tech_AI_081720A
[Water Tech (AI) - University of Trento, Italy]

- Working Toward a Sustainable Food System 

The agricultural sector is one of the most important sectors of mankind. The agricultural sector has been under pressure as the population grows exponentially and resources are scarce. One thing is clear, traditional farming methods cannot feed the masses for long. The agricultural sector needs a radical change. 

Sustainable food systems aim to provide healthy and safe food now and in the future. Such a system would protect the health and well-being of the ecology and human communities on and off the farm without compromising the health of future generations or their ability to produce safe and healthy food. 

 

Steps towards sustainable food systems can reduce pollution and use natural resources such as air, water and soil responsibly. The ultimate goal is to create a biologically diverse, resilient and healthy system using long-term efficient farming methods influenced by ecological realities. 

- Advances in Technology are Key to The Future of Agriculture

To feed the world's growing population, agriculture will soon need to become more like manufacturing. To grow effectively in an uncertain climate, crops will soon need to become more drought tolerant. 

Farms will soon need to learn how to harvest more with less water. If farms are to continue to feed the world's population, they will have to do so in ways that are independent of and adapted to the planet's changing and highly variable climate. This requires intelligent application of mature and cutting-edge technologies. Technological advancements are key to the future of agriculture as farmers strive to feed the world with limited natural resources.

 

2. Agriculture 4.0: The Future of Farming Technology

- Digitalization of Agriculture

Technology is changing the world, and agriculture is catching up. Everything from automated farm equipment to various Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that measure soil moisture and drones that track crops has transformed the business of farming. Some experts even refer to this movement as Agriculture 4.0. The goal of Agriculture 4.0 is primarily to increase crop productivity while ensuring greater environmental sustainability. In short: make more and better products with fewer resources. 

Securing the digital future of agriculture through interoperable solutions and digital technologies, Agriculture 4.0 is a model of agricultural management based on observing, measuring and responding to crop field and field variability. Agriculture 4.0 will no longer rely on the even application of water, fertilizers and pesticides across farmland. Instead, farmers will use the minimum amount required and target very specific areas. 

Largely due to advances in technology, farms and farming operations have to operate in very different ways. The agriculture of the future will use sophisticated technologies such as robotics, temperature and humidity sensors, aerial imagery and GPS technology. These advanced equipment, precision farming and robotic systems will make farms more profitable, efficient, safer and greener. 

- From Industry 4.0 to Agriculture 4.0 

Industry 4.0 trends are transforming production capabilities in all industries, including the agricultural sector. Connectivity is the cornerstone of this transformation, and IoT is a key enabling technology that is increasingly part of agricultural equipment. The development of agricultural tool connectivity is driving important advances in agricultural practice. They facilitate the development of precision agriculture and increase the transparency of the industry. 

Agriculture 4.0 is about connectivity. In addition to introducing new tools and practices, the real promise of Agriculture 4.0 in terms of improving productivity lies in the ability to collect, use and exchange data remotely.

 

3. Food and Agricultural Biotechnology

- The Role of Biotechnology in Ensuring Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture

Agricultural biotechnology, also known as agricultural technology, is a field of agricultural science that involves the use of scientific tools and techniques, including genetic engineering, molecular markers, molecular diagnostics, vaccines, and tissue culture, to engineer living organisms: plants, animals, and Microorganisms. Agricultural biotechnology was developed to address current challenges that are often not addressed by traditional practices. Agricultural biotechnology also aids in climate adaptation, stress management and disease management. Biotechnology introduced modern technology to deal with the global food crisis. 

A bio-based revolution is underway globally, and it is fundamentally changing the way the world produces and consumes food, feed, fiber, materials, chemicals, fuels and energy. Foods may directly benefit from genetic customization, as well as direct production of meat (or in vitro meat) in the laboratory. Biotechnology has become part of agricultural efforts to increase crop yields. 

- Plant Physiology for Crop Production

Ensuring food security for a growing population is one of the challenges of the coming decades. As the forefront of crop production, plant physiologists have the greatest responsibility for the steady increase in crop production. However, several challenges hinder crop production, including various abiotic and biotic stresses, such as soil productivity and loss of natural biodiversity. 

With the current global climate change, these abiotic stresses are occurring more frequently than ever, leading to vulnerabilities in crop productivity and creating challenges for farming communities to feed the universe's growing population. 

Exploring the physiological basis of plant stress resistance is of great significance for cultivating plant stress resistance. To address this question, researchers are working to understand the physiological and molecular mechanisms underlying abiotic stress responses and tolerance. Significant progress has also been made in developing crop varieties that are tolerant to environmental stress. 

- Genetic Engineering in Agriculture: The Future of Food

Genetic modification results in crop varieties that are better (potentially beneficial) tolerant to drought, pests, and herbicides, as well as grow rapidly, increase supply, reduce costs, extend shelf life, and more. GMO foods have foreign genes (genes from other plants or animals) inserted into their genetic code. Genetic engineering can be done with plants, animals or bacteria and other microorganisms. It allows scientists to speed up the process by transferring desired genes from one plant to another, or even from animals to plants or vice versa. Today, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, corn and soybeans have been genetically modified through biotechnology. More foods contain engineered ingredients, and more are being developed. 

According to the NIH, we have been genetically engineering plants since the 1990s. Potential risks of genetically modified foods include: Unexpected and harmful genetic changes may occur in genetically modified plants or animals. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) may hybridize with natural organisms. This could lead to the extinction of primitive organisms or other unpredictable environmental impacts. Transgenic (or transgenic) plants may be less resistant to some pests and more susceptible to others. 

- Synthetic Biology for Sustainable Food

Synthetic biology (or "synbio"), an emerging field where engineering meets biology, seems to be evolving almost in tandem with the growing need for sustainability. 

Synthetic biology, the next stage of genetic engineering that allows efficient reprogramming of single-celled life to make fuels, organic chemistry and byproducts of smart devices, is an extreme form of genetic engineering. It is an emerging technology that is rapidly developing and entering the market. Essentially, synthetic biology is about designing and building workhorse organisms that can make things more efficiently than nature (or make things we might need, which nature doesn't make at all). 

In general, genetically engineered foods take the desired genes from one organism, then cut and paste them into another. Instead, synthetic biology treats genes as computer code that remixes DNA sequences to create foods (as well as drugs, biofuels, and many other things) not seen in nature. There is a lot of debate around GMO, and similar issues around synbio. 

Products from synthetic biology are rarely regulated, have not been adequately assessed for their impact on our health or the environment, and do not need to be labeled. Synthetic biology could have serious implications for the health of humans and ecosystems, as well as the biodiversity of our planet. 

- Agrigenomics: Transform the Future of Agriculture

As global population grows, climate change and environmental pressures increase, there is an urgent need to accelerate the development of new crops with higher yields, tolerance to drought or heat, and the use of fewer pesticides. Advances in genomics offer the potential to accelerate the development of crops with favorable agronomic traits. Agrigenomics is the application of genomics in agriculture to improve the productivity and sustainability of crop and livestock production. Using modern technology, farmers, breeders and researchers can easily identify genetic markers associated with desirable traits to inform planting and breeding decisions. 

Agricultural researchers today have access to many tools to study plant and animal genomics. Microarray and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies can be used to study various aspects of plant and animal genomics, including genotype, gene expression and regulation, and epigenetics. These methods provide the throughput, sensitivity, and precision needed to assess genetic markers and discover novel markers associated with traits or diseases. 

 

4. Digitization for the Future of Agroecology and Smart Agriculture

- Agriculture Move Towards Digital Revolution 

Digital technologies, from GPS-based and sensor-driven work machines, drone applications to robotics, agriculture is becoming a digital industry. Digital technologies can support farmers in providing safe, sustainable and high-quality food. Not only do they help farmers "do more with less", they can also contribute to the fight against climate change. Existing and new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, robotics, cloud computing and big data can help improve process efficiency and help create new products and Serve. 

Today, digitization - the increasing integration of the use of aggregated data services and tools - is seen as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which involves a "convergence of technologies" that can blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological domains. Digitization can also play a role in improving lives in rural areas. 

Burrowing Owls_011419A
(Burrowing Owls - Jeff M. Wang)

- Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems

Crops experience a number of environmental stresses, including drought, waterlogging, salinity, extreme temperatures, insects, birds, other pests, weeds, pathogens (viruses and other microorganisms), and more. The ability to withstand these stresses is a very multifaceted phenomenon. Furthermore, the inability to do so that makes crops susceptible is also the result of various exogenous and endogenous interactions in the ecosystem. 

Modern agriculture, food production and distribution are major sources of greenhouse gases. Agroecology is the study of the ecological processes operating in agricultural systems that are both productive and resource-conserving. It links ecology, culture, economy and society to sustain agricultural production, healthy environments and viable food and farming communities. For example, fertilizers such as nitrogen often end up in water sources and cause soil acidification. They also contribute to global warming, causing soil microbes to release high levels of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that absorbs 300 times more heat than carbon dioxide. In today's changing society and globalized world, public awareness of the financial and ecological costs of ensuring food system safety, global climate change and environmental sustainability, and our growing material and energy needs has increased dramatically. 

- Agriculture Begins to Tackle Its Role in Climate Change

Farming is a tough business, and success depends on a range of factors, including the weather. Severe frosts and floods are especially harmful to those who grow crops and raise livestock, while severe droughts can also wreak havoc. 

Solar radiation, temperature and precipitation are the main drivers of crop growth; therefore, agriculture has been highly dependent on climate patterns and changes. The USDA's Framework for Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry is designed to help farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners combat climate change and covers a range of technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon storage, and generate clean, renewable energy. In fact, renewable energy and agriculture are a winning combination. Wind, solar and biomass can be harvested forever, providing farmers with a long-term source of income. Renewable energy can be used on farms to replace other fuels or sold as "cash crops". 

Modern agriculture aims to produce high-quality food and animal feed with sufficient quantities of raw materials for various industrial applications. Further goals include protecting resources and protecting the environment. Given current developments from molecules to ecosystems (contemporary crop stress research), to successfully address these challenges, scientists must understand all aspects of environmental stress. Emerging agricultural technologies provide farmers with the means to make precise, targeted responses to crop stress and are expected to play an important role in efforts to improve agricultural efficiency, sustainability and quality. 

 

5. Shaping the Future of Food Security and Agriculture

- Digitization, Technology, and Farming

Urbanization will continue to accelerate. By 2050, approximately 70% of the world's population is expected to live in urban areas. Income levels will be many times what they are now. To keep up with growing population and income growth, global food production must increase by 70% to feed the world. At the same time, as the population increases, the pressure on the water supply will increase. 

The answers to these daunting challenges lie in real-time precision farming, data collection and analysis, and the use of robotic machines (autonomous farming), drones, geoinformatics or 3S (remote sensing/RS, GIS/GIS and GPS) systems/GPS ) services (satellite-guided agriculture), IoT, sensor technology and big data analytics, wireless sensor networks (WSN), RFID, cloud computing, etc., to save water and increase crop yields. More specifically, the way to achieve these goals is to use precision agriculture (or smart farming), which is the application of information and communication technology (ICT) in agriculture (or e-agriculture) to collect large amounts of real-time data and act on it. Data on weather, soil and air quality, crop maturity and even equipment and labor costs and availability (big data). E-agriculture is an emerging field focused on promoting agricultural and rural development through improved ICT processes, involving the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of innovative approaches to the use of ICT in the rural sector, with a primary focus on connected agriculture. 

- Digitization in Agriculture - From Precision Farming to Farming 4.0 

Precision farming is an agricultural concept that involves new production and management methods that make heavy use of data about specific locations and crops. Sensor technology and application methods are used to optimize production processes and growth conditions. Using digital data can increase resource and cost efficiencies and reduce environmental impact compared to traditional farming methods. 

Precision farming techniques can maximize food production, minimize environmental impact, and reduce costs. For example, instead of prescribing field fertilization before fertilization, high-resolution crop sensors inform fertilizing equipment of the correct amount needed. Optical sensors or drones are able to identify crop health across the field (for example, by using infrared light). Predictive analytics (machine learning) can be used to make smarter decisions, maximize food production, minimize environmental impact and reduce costs. Livestock biometric technology, collars with GPS and RFID, can automatically identify and transmit important information of livestock in real time. Equipment telematics allows mechanical equipment such as tractors to warn mechanics that failure may soon occur. Intratractor communication can be used as a basic "farm swarm" platform. 

 

6. Vertical Farming and Controlled-Environment Agriculture

- Urbanization and Its Implications for Food and Farming

As our metropolitan areas begin to expand into the countryside, the sustainability of traditional farming methods is being seriously questioned. It is estimated that at least 1.5 million acres of productive farmland are lost to urbanization in the United States each year. But what alternatives are being produced to meet our rapidly growing livelihood needs? Increasing urbanization and the high environmental and monetary costs of delivering electricity, water and food to cities suggest that low-impact forms of controlled environment agriculture (CEA) are becoming more common in urban environments. 

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), commonly referred to as vertical farming, is the process of growing food or other agricultural products in a factory-like environment without the natural resources typically associated with plant production, such as soil and sunlight. Instead, these resources are delivered through the use of innovative lighting and nutrient delivery technologies. 

Agriculture has moved from fields to cities and into developed environments. CEA involves a combination of engineering, plant science, and computer-managed facility control techniques for optimizing plant growth systems, plant quality, and production efficiency, while optimizing resources including water, energy, space, capital, and labor. The environmental impact of urban CEAs can be greatly reduced through carbon-neutral energy supply, water recovery and recycling, and siting on pre-existing or underutilized structures.

- Vertical Farming - A New Future for Food Production 

Vertical farming is a system of food production in a controlled indoor environment. This allows for factory-style precision farming. This approach can reduce the environmental impact and the impact of environmental changes related to future climate change on food production. Vertical farming allows for faster, more controlled production, regardless of season. 

Vertical farming is a revolutionary way to produce large quantities of nutrient-rich, high-quality fresh food year-round without relying on skilled labor, favorable weather, high soil fertility or high water usage. It is fully enclosed and climate controlled, completely eliminating external environmental factors such as disease, pest or predator attack. 

Using state-of-the-art clean technology (agri-photonics), utilizing specialized light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and a fully controlled growing environment with no sunlight or soil (i.e. sensor-controlled hydroponic and aeroponics farming systems.), vertical (and rooftop ) farming or urban farming will grow plant or animal life within dedicated or mixed-use skyscrapers in urban environments. Instead of growing single-layer crops on large tracts of land, vertical farming grows piles of crops upward in existing underutilized warehouses or multi-story buildings. Indoor farms run by artificial intelligence (AI) and illuminated by LEDs may be more efficient than field farming. 

- The Green Promise of Vertical Farms

Next-generation LED grow lights provide artificial light used for plant growth. They offer low power, high-efficiency, uniform light pattern, homogenous light distribution at precisely the right wavelengths and color ratios needed for superior photosynthetic response. Plant light has photons from the blue to red (400–700 nm) part of the spectrum. This is called growth light. Plant growth is a function of photosynthesis. One simple example is in horticulture where synthetic blue and red light from low-cost light emitting diodes (LEDs) are programmed efficiently for controlling the growth rate and color of vegetables, flowers, ornamental plants, and fruits. 

Profitability in commercial horticulture requires the ability to cost-effectively and consistently provide plants with optimum growing conditions from germination through to harvest. Today's vertical farming monitors and controls the levels of air, water and nutrition to provide optimum growing requirements with a fully integrated intelligent computer management system. 

- Advantages of Vertical Farming

The advantages of vertical farms are numerous, including year-round crop production, faster harvest cycles, predictable results, unaffected by weather, use less water than conventional farming, superior food safety and less environmental impact, support Food autonomy in cities and reduced transportation costs. Vertical farms are a new eco-friendly way to supply the vast quantities of fruits and vegetables needed in cities around the world. 

Vertical farming uses only 10% of the water used by traditional farming methods. The water produced by transpiration is also reused, so most of it is not wasted. In addition, 70% of available drinking water is currently used for agriculture, which can be reduced through vertical farming. Another advantage of vertical farming is the area required to grow crops/plants. Because vertical farms can scale upwards, there is much less land than when using traditional farming methods. Vertical farming can also grow food organically, because no pests damage crops, so no pesticides are needed. So it is healthier, safer and more environmentally friendly. Finally, price is another advantage of vertical farming. Vertical farming can be very expensive at first, but after the first few years it will become a cheaper form of farming. Also, the prices of crops/plants grown on vertical farms will drop. 

- Disadvantages of Vertical Farming 

Vertical farming also has some drawbacks, such as fewer jobs due to not needing people to transport crops. This will cause many people to lose their jobs, and farmers will lose their jobs. It leads to potential loss of traditional agricultural jobs. It replaced the entire agricultural society. The initial cost of installation is not attractive to developers. Reliance on technology is a major disadvantage of vertical farming. If a vertical farm loses power for a day, it will be a huge loss of production. 

Also, in the event of a power outage, the growth of all crops would die because they depend on an artificial atmosphere that maintains a constant temperature and humidity of 40 degrees Celsius. They rely on data collected from sensors to maintain ideal growing conditions. Finally, only a limited variety of plants or vegetables can be grown. This is because not all plants are suitable for growing in a controlled and limited environment. 

 

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(Jungfrau, Switzerland - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)

7. Powering the IoT Ecosystem: IoT-Driven Smart Farming

- Agriculture Has Been a High-risk, Labor-intensive, Low-reward Industry

The main stages of the agricultural industry include crop cultivation, water management, fertilization, fertilization, pest management, harvesting, post-harvest handling, food transportation, packaging, food preservation, food processing/value addition, quality management, food safety, food storage, food traceability Sex (from farm to smartphone to table) and food marketing. 

All stakeholders in the agricultural industry need information and knowledge about these stages in order to manage them effectively. Agriculture has so far been a high-risk, labor-intensive, low-reward industry. Farmers are likely to be affected by unexpected environmental changes, economic downturns and many other risk factors. 

- The IoT in Agriculture - A Way Towards Smart Farming 

Modern agriculture relies on data. From climate change patterns to soil monitoring and livestock health records. All this data needs to be stored, and to make the information scalable, the cloud is the obvious choice. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), more smart devices are able to connect to the Internet through smart data feedback mechanisms. What does this mean for smart farms? 

Smart farming is an emerging concept that refers to the use of modern information and communication technology (ICT) to manage farms to increase the quantity and quality of products while optimizing the manpower required. The Internet of Things (IoT) plays a vital role in smart farming as IoT sensors are able to provide information about their agricultural sector. 

Climate, crops, livestock and even machinery all have feedback mechanisms. As a result of data reporting and analysis, sensors can be used to increase crop yields and standards and improve livestock quality of life. GPS, monitoring sensors, and weather stations all help remove the human element of guesswork and intuition, which will ultimately lead to better products. 

The Internet of Things is transforming the agricultural industry in unprecedented ways, enabling farmers and growers to meet the enormous challenges they face. The deployment of IoT in agriculture can solve many challenges and improve the quality, quantity and cost-effectiveness of agricultural production. Once an IoT smart system is enabled, farmers can easily track various environmental variables and make informed decisions. 

- The IoT-based Smart Farming

Agriculture must overcome growing water scarcity, limited land availability, and unmanageable costs, while meeting the consumer demands of a growing global population. By 2050, IoT in agriculture is expected to increase food production by 70% and feed as many as 9.6 billion people. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a global network of devices that communicate with each other. It integrates ubiquitous communications, pervasive computing, and ambient intelligence. IoT is likely to impact agriculture more than any other industry. IoT sensors enable farmers to track crop yields, soil nutrition. Rainfall and more, with unprecedented precision. The Internet of Things is transforming agriculture, enabling farmers to meet the enormous challenges they face. 

IoT applications in agriculture include water supply management, integrated pest management or control (IPM/C), food production and safety, livestock management, soil and plant monitoring, precision agriculture, greenhouse environmental monitoring and control systems, food supply chain monitoring, etc. With the Internet of Things (IoT), farmers can deliver crops directly to consumers, not only in small areas such as direct sales or stores, but also in wider areas. This will transform the entire supply chain, which is now largely in the hands of big companies, but can be transformed into a more direct and shorter supply chain between producers and consumers. 

- The IoT-based E-Farming

In the IoT concept, every device or object is connected to each other. These connected devices or objects work without any assistance from humans or human interaction. The main purpose of IoT is to connect people and devices through the Internet. In this case, each object is connected or assigned its own unique identifier so that everyone can access it over the Internet. IoT devices can sense vital information to ensure the efficient and safe delivery of food. 

Through e-agriculture, i.e. IoT and smart farming using automation, farmers will benefit from more efficient farm management, fewer inputs, less leaching, and thus less damage to the environment. Monitoring environmental factors is a major factor in improving high-efficiency crop yields. It includes monitoring the temperature and humidity of farmland through sensors. 

Cloud computing will enable the corporate sector to provide all necessary services to farmers in rural areas at an affordable cost. Farmers have adopted smartphones, which have proven invaluable in enabling them to access market information and deal with day-to-day issues that threaten their crops and livestock. Wireless payment software enables farmers to electronically process sales in the marketplace, while also catering to online buyers in the restaurant or grocery industry. 

 

8. Precision Farming - Tomorrow’s Technology for Sustainable Agricultural Development

- Sustainable Agriculture Will Never One-Size-Fits-All

By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion, meaning agricultural production will double to meet food demand. Factors such as climate change, population growth and food security concerns have prompted the agricultural industry to seek more innovative ways to protect and improve crop yields. Farm businesses need new and innovative technologies to face and overcome these challenges. 

With the world needing to provide roughly 70 percent of its food by 2050—even as climate change, land degradation, water scarcity and other challenges threaten productivity—it's clear that agricultural systems must transform. Precision farming or precision farming is an umbrella concept for IoT-based approaches that can make farming more controllable and accurate. 

In short, plants and cows get the precise treatments they need, determined by machines with superhuman precision. In agriculture, a general method of applying uniform amounts of water, fertilizers and pesticides is often the standard procedure, although it is not reliable. Agribusinesses can now customize crop management decisions by using modern precision farming techniques – scientifically proven methods for analyzing remote sensing data such as satellite and drone imagery. 

- Farm Management Systems for Precision Farming 

Precision agriculture is an agricultural management concept based on observing, measuring, and responding to crop field and field variability. The ability of the farmer and/or researcher to locate precise locations in the field allows him to create spatial variability maps of as many variables as possible (e.g. crop yield, soil pH, soil moisture, soil depth, soil type, soil texture), topographic features/topography, pest populations, nutrient levels, organic matter content, etc.). These variables are at the heart of precision agriculture and are key to defining a correction strategy or “recipe map.” Precision agriculture can be an effective practice because it more accurately defines the needs of specific locations in each field. To implement precision agriculture for effective crop management, farmers need to understand crop and soil conditions throughout the entire crop production period, from planting to harvest. Once the crop condition is known, farmers can make the right management decisions that save time, labor and money, leading to higher yields and profits. Precision agriculture is made possible by the convergence of three groups of modern technologies: information and (wireless) communication technologies, monitoring and measurement technologies (including remote sensing and GIS, yield monitoring and GPS), and automated process control technologies. 

- Precision Agriculture Technologies and Autonomous Farming

Precision farming techniques and autonomous farming offer many exciting opportunities for more profitable and environmentally friendly farming. Once adapted to farm conditions, these technologies (wireless, cloud-connected systems) will provide a whole new level of accuracy in measuring plant growth, monitoring farm growth conditions, and operating farm equipment (sensing farming). Sensors help agriculture by enabling real-time traceability and diagnostics of the status of crops, livestock, and farm machinery. 

Automated processes (agricultural robots) will replace routine labor-intensive agricultural tasks such as harvesting, fruit picking, plowing, soil maintenance, weeding, planting, irrigation, etc. For example, field irrigation would involve connecting sprinkler systems to plant sensors, soil sensors and a nearby weather station. This technology will ensure that the right amount of water is delivered to growing plants when needed. 

Precision agriculture and the tools and equipment it includes will allow real-time data to be collected and analyzed, helping farmers make better decisions. By interconnecting crops, tools and vehicles with smart devices and sensors, farmers will be able to make the right decisions at the right time based on data, resulting in more production while saving money and conserving natural resources.

 

9. Big Data, Cloud, Predictive Analytic, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Agriculture

- Big Data and The Future of Agriculture

The rise of digital agriculture and its associated technologies has brought a wealth of new data opportunities. Remote sensors, satellites and drones can gather information on the entire field 24 hours a day. These can monitor plant health, soil condition, temperature, humidity, and more. The amount of data these sensors can generate is enormous, and the significance of that data is hidden in the avalanche of data. 

The agricultural community hopes to use big data to help farmers make decisions that increase yields and provide safe, nutritious food to communities around the world. Companies are using computer vision and deep learning algorithms to process data captured by drones and/or software-based technologies to monitor crop and soil health. Machine learning models are being developed to track and predict the impact of various environments on crop yields, such as changes in weather. 

AI_Algorithm_Flowchart_MIT_112118A
(AI Algorithm Flowchart, Karen Hao, MIT)

- The Future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning in Agriculture

Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing many things in our lives, including the way we produce food. Technologies such as machine learning, image recognition, and predictive modeling are being applied to the agricultural industry as a way to increase productivity and efficiency. 

These approaches could be important steps in producing more food for a growing global population by helping farmers reduce chemical inputs, detect disease faster, alleviate labor shortages, and cope with weather conditions in a changing climate. 

At a time when the world must produce more food with fewer resources, AI promises to power an agricultural revolution. 

- The Power of Predictive Analytics in Agriculture

Predictive analytics as a whole can encompass many different statistical capabilities from modeling, machine learning, and data mining. Used in agriculture, these methods allow the analysis of what has happened on the farm in the past, as well as what is currently happening and will happen, to use the data to predict the future and make decisions that affect the bottom line and end use of the farm product. 

Researchers and farmers use predictive models to identify best management practices for optimal crop and livestock performance under various environmental conditions. To make the most accurate predictions, even models based on state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms must be rooted in comprehensive datasets. Such datasets typically include multiple weather and soil measurements over multiple years and corresponding assessments of plant or animal performance under multiple management regimes.

 

10. Robotics, Drones, IoT, AI, and the Future Of Precision Agriculture

- Agricultural Robotics: The Future of Robotic Agriculture

Artificial intelligence robotics is a new innovative technology that promises to provide solutions for the future of agriculture. More and more farm robots are being developed that are capable of performing complex tasks that were not possible with large agricultural machines in the past.

Automation will help agriculture inspect and maintain crops at the plant level through large and micro robots. Robotic farm swarms, a hypothetical combination of tens or hundreds of agricultural robots (small autonomous robots) with thousands of tiny sensors that will collectively monitor, predict, grow and extract crops from the land with little or no human intervention. Farmers can control everything remotely via a tablet.

- Drones For Agriculture: Farm and Crop Monitoring by UAV‎

Drones are transforming agriculture - giving farmers new tools to monitor crops and inspect fields from the air. The drone flies along a path preset by the farmer and captures images of the ground. The user then uploads the image to the cloud, where the software tool creates a map showing the areas where the crop has been damaged and mutated. 

This enables farmers to identify problems quickly and take action at a considerably lower price. You literally just press a few buttons and the drone flies across the field like a lawnmower, collecting data and processing it. By making farming more data-driven, farms should see higher productivity and yields. 

- Ultra-Precision Agriculture - AI, Robotics, Drones and IoT Revolutionizing Agriculture

With drones, robots and smart monitoring systems now successfully used in research and field trials, artificial intelligence or machine learning will revolutionize the future of farming as the next phase of "ultra-precision" farming is just around the corner. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are making agriculture smarter. Artificial intelligence is improving the efficiency of our current farming methods to increase yields and reduce waste without adversely affecting the environment. As IoT sensors become ubiquitous on farms and drones capture massive amounts of real-time images of field conditions, AI machines will be able to help farmers predict what their crops and farms may need a year in advance, giving them more leverage on adverse conditions reaction time. 

Therefore, precision agriculture can help bring about the next green revolution and generate great wealth in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way (biomimicry). 

 

11. Mobile Wireless 5G and Beyond and the Future of Farming

- Four Drivers Paving the Way for 5G

The term "5G" refers to the fifth generation of wireless broadband technology that will go beyond smartphones to connect anything from cars, machines, and appliances 50 to 100 times faster than 4G, with low-latency wireless up to 1GB/s. 5G will provide new consumer and commercial applications with near real-time connectivity. 

Farmers around the world are using IoT technology to optimize agricultural processes, including water management, fertilization, livestock safety, and crop monitoring. 5G enables real-time data collection, enabling farmers to monitor, track and automate agricultural systems to improve profitability, efficiency and safety. 

The four drivers paving the way for 5G are as follows: fiber infrastructure, small cell deployment, high frequency spectrum availability, and the introduction of 5G indoors via fixed wireless. 

- 5G Enabling Precision Agriculture

5G wireless technology can bring reliable high-bandwidth speeds to areas where coverage is often lacking, enabling new precision farming capabilities on agricultural equipment with real-time connectivity. The idea is to enable farm equipment to communicate with other machines in the field by streaming data from the vehicle to the cloud and back to the machine operator in the shortest possible time. 

5G wireless technology will pave the way for a new generation of robots, some of which can be controlled to roam freely through wireless rather than wired communication links, and take advantage of the vast computing and data storage resources of the cloud. With these capabilities, robots can perform precise dynamic control in near real-time and connect with people and machines locally and globally. In short, 5G will fully support applications such as the "factory of the future" and many other applications that were previously beyond the capabilities of cellular and robotics. 

- 5G Deployment in Rural Areas

Rural farming communities need high-capacity, low-latency network services to support bandwidth-intensive applications for a variety of operations, including water management, precision agriculture, and food production. 5G access can help rural economies grow and add more high-tech jobs, but the cost of installing infrastructure and return on investment is a major hurdle. 

5G wireless may struggle in rural areas, especially those with lots of trees and foliage, and may experience other problems due to low population densities. For this problem, we see two possible solutions. First, network service providers can deploy fiber in strategic locations closer to rural areas, providing the necessary backhaul connectivity for 5G technology support and small cell deployments across farming communities. The second option is to deploy fixed wireless combined with 5G. Either solution will pave the way for rural areas to get the data speeds they need, even in small communities. 

- The 5G Future and the Role of Satellite

5G will dramatically change the way satellites are integrated into the mainstream, enabling full interoperability within end-to-end 5G networks. Satellites could bring 5G to areas where ground-connecting companies deem building fiber-optic cables too expensive. 5G presents the satellite industry with the ultimate opportunity to break out of its niche market, as well as a broader range of services for satellite service providers, while enabling mobile and fiber operators to leverage satellite connectivity to extend their , backhaul and mobile access, among which satellite is a better access technology. 

Rural areas in particular benefit from satellite connectivity. In sparsely populated areas, there are ranchers and farmers who need existing broadband or mobile services, but don't yet. It's hard to imagine 5G creating a business model where small cells are placed on every fence post in an area like this. Satellites can connect central 5G stations with small cells in rural communities, a service called relaying. Satellites can also “backhaul” directly to local base stations in extremely remote locations such as islands. 

The possibility of satellite 5G is to cover areas that terrestrial 5G cannot. Essentially, terrestrial 5G will never be able to reach 4G coverage in the next 5 or even 10 years because it requires densification of the radio network (base stations), which will be achieved primarily through small cells. We are still a few years away from realizing the true potential of rural 5G. Planes, trains, ships, and other vehicles that frequent planets beyond the reach of mobile companies will continue to rely on satellite connections. 

- Connecting agriculture: LoRa, NB-IoT, LTE, and 5G 
As we've heard, Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networking technologies like LoRaWAN and NB-IoT are helping farmers connect their jobs to the internet. This connectivity gives them a platform to start introducing new automation and intelligence into their operations. 

But if agriculture is to take advantage of the latest analytics and automation tools, the LPWA network isn't going to cut it. Connectivity is again the biggest hurdle, according to Viasat, another U.S. company that provides satellite broadband to the military, government and commercial markets.  

 

 

<updated by hhw: 3/19/22>

 

 

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