A number of technological conveniences have allowed modern farmers and the entire farming industry to turn a new leaf. Prerequisite agricultural hardware is getting more and more sophisticated by the second. As the component software is also making farmer’s lives a bit easier, modern farm life requires a lot more brain than brawn.
The transformation of traditional ways of getting things done, with new and improved methods has changes everything. From the types of people who become farmers modern-day, to the way crops are cultivated, it’s hard to keep up. This has also changed the resultant products available to modern consumers.
Consequently, we’ll be sharing a number of new-age practices that are redefining agriculture as we know it.
In 2019, space is becoming a limiting factor for large scale agricultural farming. With cosmopolitan cities expanding, and consuming more of the landscape each day, farmers are finding new ways to accommodate a rapidly growing population. While vertical farming doesn’t radically change the nature of farming, it tackles a dwindling resource in our economy: space. Space isn’t an issue in remote areas across the Midwest.
However, the lack of space and necessity to transport massive quantities of food can skyrocket prices. Vertical farms not only better production and shelf life, but they also tackle farming efficiency. This can create major challenges if efficiency is not amongst your top priorities as a modern farmer. In other words, vertical farms simplify the biggest challenge in farming: producing an adequate amount of food.
Similar to the concept of vertical farming, rooftop growing is becoming popular across urban environments as well. This one is pretty straight forward. Where growing space is limited or sometimes non-existent, rooftop growing supplements the necessity for large amounts of land in crop cultivation.
The practice has been tried and tested, primarily in Chicago, which is now home to the planet’s biggest rooftop farm. Not only does this rooftop farm provide easy access to farm products, but there’s more.
Rooftop farms provide items at lower costs than imported products and employ local residents.
Additionally, drones are also taking on increasing roles in rooftop farming. With these innovate machines helping in pollination, aerial photography of crop fields, various assessments, and more – there seems to be no end in sight. There’s even the possibility of harvest delivery in the near future.
We see innovation happening in almost every sector. It’s hard to believe that just 10 years ago, the majority of farmers did not use motorized equipment for most of their fieldwork. Today, tractors, plows, and other motorized vehicles are much larger and faster than ever before. Food is produced in a shorter amount of time. And machines run longer without much of a recovery window.
The use of motorized equipment and biotechnology, make for enormous improvements in the efficiency of farm operations.
New technology allows farmers to feed more people, with less labor. 200 years ago, over 90 percent of the U.S. lived on farms and produced most of the food for their families. Modern day, only two percent of the population produces food for the entire world. That’s over 7 billion people being fed by the farming community. No doubt this has affected the prices of crops, as supply and demand have seen a massive shift.
Consequently, many producers have resorted to chemical and GMO alternatives to feed people faster, and at a lower cost. Further, the use of technology in the farming sector has enabled the average farmer to feed 155 people today, compared to 1940, when one farmer could only feed 19 people.
Past farmers had to rely on their experience alone.
Most adopted a bit of a ‘hope-and-pray’ strategy to work out how and when to plant. Mixing certain crop varieties to achieve maximum yields has always been a challenge. In the past, we weren’t even able to predict the weather weeks out or access the weather report each day on a mobile computer.
Presently though, algorithmic agriculture is leaving nothing to chance. Mixing math and science to work out the best way forward, this technology makes modern farming much easier. Benedikt Groß, a UK-based designer, has come up with numerous models for algorithmic farming. These models are helping farmers across England in terms of diversity, ecological resilience, and creating aerially aesthetic crop patterns.
As the name suggests, permaculture focuses on ensuring a permanent or long-lasting agricultural system. This is the result of incorporating perennial plants into your harvest. Doing this saves time and money on intensive tilling.
Additionally, it increases the chances of self-sufficiency and sustainability.
Food forests are quickly becoming a thing across the US. These unique green places are gaining massive popularity by the minute.
The concept of a food forest is simple. As opposed to a conventional in-ground garden, vegetation is planted in a natural fashion. Similar to how they grow on their own in the wild, plants are planted spontaneously. Rather than planting vegetables in a well-thought-out manner, this method is sort of random.
Vegetation is planted in several layers, mimicking forest layouts. This leads to a system that yields excellent results with little to no outward interference or planning. Of course, it doesn’t always work out. However, when it does, plants grow faster and more abundantly with minimal production effort or intervention.
Therefore, food forests may give an idea of the direction of the entire agricultural industry.
Often a feared and misunderstood member of the animal kingdom, fungi have many beneficial properties. Primarily, they welcome healthy bacteria into our immune systems when we eat them. As a secondary benefit, they’re helpful when it comes to avoiding damage caused by bad weather and pests.
In an effort to combat drought, scientists have found the solution in the mycelial networks of fungi. These networks, when added into plant roots, improve plant tolerance of unforgiving weather conditions. as a result, bad weather that would otherwise destroy an ordinary plant, is no match for these guys.
What’s more, there’s also news of an all-natural fungal pesticide on the market. The pesticide provides an ecologically sound and environmentally friendly remedy to this age-old conundrum. By lessening the damage caused by destructive pests, and increasing operational efficiency, farm life has greatly benefitted from technological innovation.