Enabling technologies enhance predictability and efficiency of agriculture, while reducing field inputs, finds Frost & Sullivan's TechVision team
SANTA CLARA, California, March 28, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The global threat to food security and the need to deal with unpredictable climatic conditions have thrown open the doors to advanced agriculture technologies such as precision agriculture, agricultural robots and equipment telematics. These emerging technologies require less labor, enable higher farming efficiencies, and in the long-term will greatly boost agricultural profitability.
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Emerging Technologies Stimulating the Future of Agriculture, recent research from Frost & Sullivan's TechVision (Health & Wellness) Growth Partnership Service program, finds that the United States will be the biggest adopter of integrated pest management techniques, covering up to 70 percent of the total crop acreage in the country. The concentration of pesticide residues is found to be very low in the crops cultivated in the US.
"Technologies based on water conservation, enhanced efficiency fertilizers, pest management and waste upcycling increase the yield per hectare of agricultural land," said Frost & Sullivan TechVision Research Analyst Sharath Thirumalai. "Additionally, the reduced energy utilization and negligible release of greenhouse gases using crop sensors and equipment telematics make agriculture more sustainable and efficient."
Some of the major technologies impacting the global agriculture sectors are:
- Precision agriculture: It has been a huge success when employed in large arable lands and has also decreased machinery and other costs by 75 percent. Recent developments aid crop yield data collection, nutrient management, satellite aerial imagery and development of variable rate technology.
- Enhanced efficiency fertilizers: These last in the farmlands for up to 12 months, maintaining the content of nutrients such as potassium, nitrogen and phosphorous. They improve the leaf and root growth of the crops.
- Vertical hydroponic farming systems: Every hectare under vertical farming can potentially substitute 9 hectares of conventional outdoor farmlands, and save up to 200 tons of water every day. Vertical farming with LED indoor lighting systems and agricultural robotics improve the quality of the produce and stimulate sustainability of crops.
- Weed analysis and automatic spot spraying systems
- Soil moisture sensors to lessen tillage, and maintain soil quality and nutrients
- Modern irrigation methods that diminish evaporation and run-off wastage
- Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to monitor nutrient imbalance and excess water in agricultural fields.
While the innovations in agricultural technologies are abundant, farmers are still mostly unaware of their availability and benefits. Plus, the higher costs of installation and operation make them unfeasible for small holdings. Farmers are also reluctant to adopt these technologies as a change in climatic and land-use patterns could intensify the severity of natural calamities, which can have direct implications for the agricultural yield.
"Lack of knowledge about the predator-parasite relationship will result in the over-utilization of synthetic fertilizers, which will damage the fertility of the soil in the long run," noted Frost & Sullivan TechVision Research Analyst Lekshmy Ravi. "Furthermore, the infrequent use of water conservation techniques and equipment telematics lowers the yield of crops per field area cultivated."
Governments all over the world are acknowledging the importance of agriculture technology innovation and adoption of more efficient systems. North America leads in technology development and deployment, while Asia-Pacific has shown to have the most potential for technology adoption. Meanwhile, the Australian government has announced $35 million in funds to manage pests and weeds in the drought-affected areas of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.
Frost & Sullivan's global TechVision practice is focused on innovation, disruption and convergence, and provides a variety of technology-based alerts, newsletters and research services as well as growth consulting services. Its premier offering, the TechVision program, identifies and evaluates the most valuable emerging and disruptive technologies enabling products with near-term potential. A unique feature of the TechVision program is an annual selection of 50 technologies that can generate convergence scenarios, possibly disrupt the innovation landscape, and drive transformational growth. View a summary of our TechVision program by clicking on the following link: http://ifrost.frost.com/TechVision_Demo.
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