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  • Updated: May 15, 2023

Future of Farming: Agriculture Technology Trends Of 2023

Future of Farming: Agriculture Technology Trends Of 2023

With the world population continuing to rise and the human population becoming more urbanized, the demand for food is increasing.

Rather than just sitting back and letting nature take its course, experts around the world are coming up with new and innovative ways they can meet and sustain this demand.

To survive today, farmers need to be experts in their field, from fertilizers and soil, planting and irrigation cycles, to weather impacts.

Farmers are existing in a time where they need to produce more food while using less energy, water and battling with the impacts of climate change.

Urbanization, immigration issues and a generational shift away from farming have also led to them needing to do all this with less reliance on a workforce.

As a result, a successful crop cycle has never been more dependent on technology than it has today.

Technology is constantly improving, adapting and innovating, and within the agriculture industry, this can be seen in many ways, from helping to reduce manual labour and increasing efficiency to improving the quantity and quality of output.

Here we will look at three technology trends that the farming world is jumping on board with this year. 

Controlled Environment Agriculture
An advanced and intensive form of hydroponically-based agriculture, controlled environment agriculture (CEA), also known as “vertical farming” or “indoor farming”, is where plants grow within a controlled space to optimize horticultural practices.

The concept is that the controlled environment mimics ideal conditions for growing plants, with optimum temperature, moisture and light manipulated, regulated and monitored. 

Produce is grown under LED growing lights with hydroponic systems providing water and nutrients, and with other systems like heaters, ventilators, dehumidifiers, CO2 enrichment and coolers in place to ensure that everything plants need for their various growing stages is provided artificially.

This gives facilities the chance to grow a range of plants, including herbs, lettuces, microgreens, tomatoes, berries and flowers, whether or not they are regional to the country the facility is located in. 

Not only do these CEA facilities give countries the ability to be in control of what they want to grow, despite their climate, but it frees up precious outdoor space and fuels freshness and reduced transport time.

Moving forward, the hope is that the number and types of crops that can be grown in this way will expand and increase, especially in the current crisis with challenges such as the rising costs of goods and services, ongoing supply chain issues and climate change rife around the globe. 

Rise Of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic right now, making its mark in a whole array of industries.

You have the more obvious ones, like in the world of healthcare, finance and retail, and perhaps the less obvious ones, like AI being used to track the behaviour of those playing online casino games in order to support players to help them be in control of their gambling. 

In the world of farming, this type of technology and automation is playing a variety of roles.

Indoor farming facilities are one area of farming that is utilizing AI to support consistent plant results, collect data on crops, help to adjust the environment for optimal nutrition and flavour and to harvest the food.

Elsewhere, artificial intelligence can be seen in the use of self-driving tractors and combine harvesters, as well as robot swarms for crop inspection and autonomous sprayers.

This not only helps to limit human error, but it also reduces labour costs. 

This type of innovation doesn’t come without its drawbacks, with issues like higher upfront equipment costs and training workers on how to use the technology just some of the challenges faced.

For decision-makers in agriculture, properly utilizing AI to increase productivity while decreasing waste amid increasing costs is essential. 

Universities Becoming More Involved
Lastly, another trend that is shaping up this year is colleges and universities receiving donations to put more resources into agricultural research, especially around how technology can help tackle the effects of climate change.

Last year, the University of California at Davis was given a donation of $50 million to build an agricultural research hub.

According to the LA Times, this centre will work on making crops more resilient and sustainable during climate change, maximizing water and energy efficiencies and expanding access to nutritious food. 

Elsewhere, Nationwide has promised an initial $2 million to create the AgTech Innovation Hub at Ohio State University, to enable them to research how to combat the impact of climate change on crop production, and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho is set to receive a $55 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help Idaho farmers address climate change too.

Harrisburg University has also received a $1 million donation to fund a research hub dedicated to finding new technologies in the food and agriculture space. 

Final Thoughts
If we want to continue to be able to feed the world, the agriculture industry needs to be a high priority.

Investors are already targeting farming innovations like CEA and helping to fund research into combating climate change impacts on crops, but with the current economic uncertainty, leaders in the agriculture space need to be taking action and staying informed with these technology trends to ensure that they are prepared for the future of this industry.

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