Smart farming and precision agriculture involve the integration of advanced technologies into existing farming practices in order to increase production efficiency and the quality of agricultural products. As an added benefit, they also improve the quality of life for farm workers by reducing heavy labor and tedious tasks.
“What will a farm look like in 50 to 100 years?” is the question posed by David Slaughter, a professor of biological and environmental engineering at UC Davis. “We have to address population growth, climate change and labor issues, and that has brought a lot of interest to technology.”
Just about every aspect of farming can benefit from technological advancements—from planting and watering to crop health and harvesting. Most of the current and impending agricultural technologies fall into three categories that are expected to become the pillars of the smart farm: autonomous robots, drones or UAVs, and sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT).
How are these technologies already changing agriculture, and what new changes will they bring in the future?