The agricultural industry is always preparing for an inevitable future where there are more people than the earth can (currently) provide for. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations predicts that over 9.6 billion people will live on this planet by 2050. That means that the amount of food that is output needs to increase by 70% within the next 35 years in order to feasibly feed the population.
One method of farming that will potentially increase the quantity of food produced is precision agriculture. Also commonly referred to as satellite farming or site specific crop management, this technology is up-and-coming, but not necessarily new. It was initially developed in the United States in the 1980s. Precision agriculture involves the use of modern technology in order to enhance and improve traditional farming tactics. This is done through the use of GPS systems to create defined management zones, increasing the productivity and precision of crops. Crop yield monitors are mounted on GPS enabled combines in order to produce data which will further improve a crops efficiency. Precision agriculture also saves on startup funds, allowing farmers to know exactly how much product to purchase, such as fertilizer and phytosanitary costs.
Along with increasing the precision of traditional crop farming, satellite farming also advances livestock output in a similar way. Monitored data uses the information from an animals body temperature, activity, tissue resistivity, pulse and geolocation in order to define specific events to a farmer, such as the reproductive timeline. Currently, smart farming is fairly expensive for any farm that isn’t significant in size. This technicality along with a few others is predicted to be overcome in the next few years.