Discrete and Process Automation

Electronics in agriculture

08 March 2024
Smart farming makes use of modern technologies. Source: Adobe Stock

The incorporation of electronics has become a game-changer in the ever-evolving world of agriculture, causing a paradigm shift in long-established farming methods and accelerating long-term growth. A more resilient and sustainable future for global food production is within reach because of the marriage of electronics with agriculture, which includes innovations such as precision farming, the internet of things (IoT), biotechnology integration and advanced data analytics. This is more than just a trend; it's a fundamental shift. This article explores how technology is changing the way we grow and harvest food by diving into the crucial role of electronics in modern agriculture.

Precision farming

Precision agriculture (PA) uses high-tech sensors and analytical tools to increase crop yields and aid in management decision-making. It is a new idea that has gained global acceptance to improve crop yields with less human effort and better control over watering and fertilizer applications. To enhance agricultural resource use, crop yields and crop quality, it employs a mountain of data and information.

Therefore, it makes use of cutting-edge technology like sensor-equipped machinery, GPS-guided tractors and drones to ensure optimal farming. Farmers can enhance efficiency and decrease environmental impact by accurately managing resources like water, fertilizers and pesticides using this targeted strategy.

IoT and smart farming

From health and fitness to home automation, transportation and logistics, the IoT has permeated every facet of human existence. So, it's not surprising that automation, IoT and linked gadgets would find a home in farming, enhancing practically every part of the industry in the process. In common usage, "smart agriculture" refers to farming practices that make use of IoT technologies. Smart farming utilizes IoT sensors to gather data on the environment and machines, allowing farmers to make better decisions and enhance their job in nearly every area, from raising cattle to growing crops.

Connected devices collect data in real-time about soil quality, weather trends and crop vitality, which can be used by farmers for planning their crops cycle. For instance, farmers can determine the precise number of pesticides and fertilizers to use to achieve optimal efficiency by monitoring the status of crops with smart agricultural sensors.

Smart machinery

Automated machinery, such as smart tractors and robotic harvesters, has been developed thanks to the integration of electronics in agriculture. The smart farming technology in smart tractors is user-friendly, which makes the job easier for the drivers and allows them to transfer operators and jobs with ease. Similarly, robots have been engineered to harvest crops including vegetables and fruits. They carefully collect the crops without spoiling the food by using robotic arms or other technologies that determine when the plants are ready to be picked using sensors and cameras. In many cases, the picking is done by six-axis robots. It is common to pair these robots with a mobile unit because they are stationary. This component can take the form of a robotic transport or a mobile robot. These innovations reduce the need for human labor, cut down on operational expenses and boost agricultural operations' overall efficiency.

[See also: Raspberry-picking robot trained on fake fruit]

Sustainable farming

The agricultural sector might play a pivotal role in creating a more sustainable society. As the global population continues to grow at an alarming rate, this approach can guarantee a sustainable food supply while also protecting rural areas and all the unique wildlife, plant and cultural life that calls them home. By using sensors and monitoring systems to keep tabs on environmental conditions, electronics in agriculture go a long way toward promoting sustainable practices. This paves the way for farmers to embrace sustainable practices, cut down on waste and make educated decisions that complement conservation initiatives.

In recent years, we have come to appreciate the vast possibilities presented by emerging information technologies, particularly the internet, for facilitating instantaneous, global access to knowledge. To make do with limited public funds for information dissemination or development work, farmers and policymakers are investigating the reach of Internet communication to help them take conservative measures.

Crop monitoring and management

Efficient crop monitoring is made possible with the help of electronic sensors and satellite imagery. By integrating satellite imaging data with geographic information systems, this technology facilitates the creation of high-quality data that is both timely and suitable for use in agricultural production system decision-making. In addition to decision-making, satellite imagery has many other practical applications, such as reporting, record-keeping and data integration with other systems (such as disease and pest models, fertilization maps, pest monitoring, yield maps and so on). This integration enhances the functionality of crop monitoring and provides professionals with a better view of the crops' progress as they grow. In this way, farmers can monitor their crops' progress, identify diseases at an early stage and intervene precisely when needed. Not only does this prevent damage to crops, but it also makes better use of available resources.

E-platforms and training

The use of electronic channels has completely altered the way farmers reach consumers. Using online marketplaces, farmers can bypass middlemen and sell their goods directly to buyers or wholesalers, resulting in more equitable compensation. When it comes to educating and training farmers, electronics play a key role. The use of e-learning platforms, smartphone apps and other online resources has greatly improved farming methods by disseminating important knowledge about new technology, industry trends, and best practices.

Conclusion

Further advancements in agriculture are likely to occur because of the combination of blockchain technology, artificial intelligence and robotics as technology evolves. More sustainable and resilient agriculture may be possible in the future because of these innovations, which can alleviate global concerns including food insecurity, resource scarcity and climate change.

To contact the author of this article, email GlobalSpecEditors@globalspec.com


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