A Texas A&M University biological and agricultural engineer shares the impact of precision technology on agriculture and what new technologies growers can anticipate in the future.
By Alex Thomasson
Today’s agriculture has transformed into a high-tech enterprise that most 20th-century farmers might barely recognize.
After all, it was only around 100 years ago that farming in the U.S. transitioned from animal power to combustion engines. Over the past 20 years GPS, electronic sensors and other new tools have moved farming even further into a technological wonderland.
Beyond the now de rigeur air conditioning and stereo system, a modern large tractor’s enclosed cabin includes computer displays indicating machine performance, field position and operating characteristics of attached machinery like seed planters.
And as amazing as today’s technologies are, they’re just the beginning. Self-driving machinery and flying robots able to automatically survey and treat crops will become commonplace on farms that practice what’s come to be called precision agriculture.
The ultimate purpose of all this high-tech gadgetry is optimization, from both an economic and an environmental standpoint. We only want to apply the optimal amount of any input (water, fertilizer, pesticide, fuel, labor) when and where it’s needed to efficiently produce high crop yields.
Source: The Conversation