It’s been almost 40 years since Band Aid released Feed the World, and today we need more food than ever. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion people. Agricultural output needs to increase by more than two-thirds between 2010 and 2050 to meet the demands of this expanding population, but traditional farming is unable to keep up. For this reason, farmers are turning to smart farming solutions to be able to increase production and keep the world fed.
What is smart farming?
Smart farming involves farmers having the ability to use the latest technology—the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud technologies, and big data—to make their agricultural practices more efficient. Through monitoring, tracking, automating, and analysing using software and sensors, they can practice more precise agricultural practices.
Smart farming technologies include:
- Drones that monitor fields and collect data, which can then be analysed
- Sensors to scan water and soil as well as environmental conditions such as light, humidity, and temperature
- IoT-based solutions connected to specialised software and hardware
- Data analytics tools for decision-making and predicting outcomes
- Robotics for harvesting
Companies at the forefront of the smart agriculture revolution
RootWave is the brand name for Ubiqutek Ltd who produces sustainable and regenerative technology using electricity to kill weeds without using chemical herbicides whilst restoring ecosystems and soils. They sell and develop a variety of solutions across crop and non-crop markets and have established partnerships with other innovative companies to combine their technology. These include:
- RootWave Pro is a professional hand weeder to spot weeds and treat invasive species.
- SFM Technology is integrating Rootwave technology to zap weeds in fruit crops.
- Small Robot Company is integrating Rootwave technology into their fully autonomous weeding robots for arable crops.
Ecorobotix has developed a high-precision sprayer for ultra-localised treatments of row crops, pastures, and lawns. It enables the targeted application of herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, and fertilisers, which can improve a farm’s profitability.
TerraPrima’s objective is to make farms visible and predictable. The company helps to reduce crop waste and increase the profitability and sustainability of the agricultural ecosystem. It does that by empowering farmers with a turnkey solution that de-risks operations and extracts more value from crops. Farmers receive information on the right time to harvest, predicting diseases, improving yields, and automating farm tasks based on real-time crop needs.
4. CropX Technologies
CropX Technologies’ digital decision and planning tools are based on continuous monitoring of soil and crop conditions. They offer an integrated hardware and software system to provide farmers and agribusinesses with in-depth information to grow more whilst using less water, chemicals, energy, and time.
The tool uses data taken from:
- Soil sensors
- Precise weather
- Aerial imagery
- Topography maps
- Soil mapping
- Hydraulic models
- Crop models
5. Bosch Smart Farming
Bosch Smart Farming provides digital solutions for efficient and sustainable agriculture. Its smart spraying solution provides farmers with a holistic solution that identifies weeds and precisely applies herbicides only where they are really needed. The intelligent planning solution uses map and sensor data to automatically determine the optimum seed and fertilizer rates in real-time and apply them efficiently.
Gamaya provides digital agronomy solutions for large-scale monitoring and diagnostics of crops for smart farming. The company uses multispectral satellite imagery and drone-based imaging data to characterize different crop properties. Its drone and satellite imagery provide insights for optimal crop monitoring and management.
Phytech helps farmers to optimize production by connecting them to their plants through offering enhanced real-time visibility of their water demand, growth, and health. The tech shows farmers what they need to know, from stressed plots, irrigation performance, weather forecasts, and irrigation recommendations.
WaterBit's automated, smart irrigation solution uses IoT technology to make it easy to remotely and precisely monitor and irrigate fields. The technology saves farmers time and money driving to their fields, checking moisture levels, and turning on and off irrigation valves.
ETwater is a smart irrigation company that centrally processes big data to implement predictive watering schedules based on plant types, soil and slope conditions, and environmental factors. Its weather-based irrigation control for landscape irrigation uses AI and predictive analytics to provide an intelligent solution.
AqyaSpy has gathered and analyzed crop and soil profile data for over a decade, which helps farmers grow food for people and feed for livestock. This data helps them calibrate their systems to help growers optimize irrigation while minimizing runoff and conserving water without impacting crop yield.
They also show how plants are behaving, which helps to make informed choices about when and how to water and fertilize.
Semios is a crop management platform for tree fruit, nuts, and vines. It helps produce a better crop by measuring weather, pest pressure, water management, and plant stress data and then transforms them into insights that help make the right decisions at the right time.
AeroFarms uses proprietary aeroponic farming technology, which allows plants to be grown in an air or mist environment. This offers an increased level of precision and productivity with less environmental impact as aeroponic systems enable the production of plants using 95 per cent less.
IronOx uses robotics and artificial intelligence to ensure each individual plant receives the optimal levels of sunshine, water, and nutrients. The approach allows the company to grow precisely what is needed, reducing systemic food waste. Also, in the picking process, it operates fully autonomous indoor farming.
Arable is an infield sensing and agricultural data and analytics company that offers an all-in-one IoT-enabled irrigation management tool, weather station, and crop monitor. This solar-powered and data-driven system connects farmers’ decisions, plant insights, and weather observations to actionable outcomes, which allows farmers to save time and money by reducing the different risk factors related to farming operations.
AgroWatcher uses computer vision technology and multispectral imaging to identify crop differences relating to water stress, pests and other diseases in the crops.
AgroWatcher has developed a robotic machine equipped with computer vision technology and multispectral imaging to take images of farm fields. Through machine learning, the machine identifies crop differences relating to water stress, pests and other diseases in the crops.
PrecisionHawk carries out low-altitude aerial data collection and data analysis through drone-based aerial intelligence. Their remote sensing applications and data processing services help farmers gain greater insight by tracking trends over a period by using repeatable flight plans.
Agriculture is often seen as a traditional industry that cannot join the digital revolution. However, to feed the burgeoning population and meet the 70% increase in food production by 2050, we must drag agriculture into industry 4.0. Space on this earth is finite and already stretched to the limit. We, therefore, have only one solution: to produce more with less. The 16 companies above are at the forefront of production efficiency—they might just finish what Band Aid started.