Tech

AgriTech: Where Technology and Agriculture Meet

Written by
Julieta García
Published on
March 12, 2024

Author: Julieta García, Marketing Manager @ Digital Sense

One of the beauties of technology is the broadness of its applications. Health, Finance, Space, Agriculture - just name it. Today, I want to invite you to discover the world of AgriTech -or AgTech- with us. Not only the solution to many of farmer’s problems but also the tool a hundred years ago we couldn’t even imagine having. 

Introduction

Short for “Agriculture Technology,” AgriTech is an exciting field where the latest technology and traditional farming meet. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Computer Vision in agriculture revolutionizes the very essence of farming, cultivating efficiency, precision, and sustainability. We are talking about an industry that has, from the very beginning, belonged to human hands. But, with AgriTech, we provide farmers and industry professionals with cutting-edge technology and the possibility to nurture crops with unprecedented precision, optimize resources, and make sustainability a way of life. This is the promise we make to Agriculture. 

The AI, ML, and Computer Vision Landscape in Agriculture

When harnessed effectively, AI, Machine Learning, and Computer Vision redefine the agricultural landscape. Consider the scenario where a farmer seamlessly monitors crop health and watering through an advanced irrigation solution that can care for crops and precious water resources. Or envision a system that detects and eradicates weeds autonomously, all thanks to the application of AI and ML. Better yet, imagine creating a solution to promote sustainable agricultural practices at a national level. These exemplify the strides technology has made in the industry.

A land of opportunities

The opportunities AI presents in agriculture are not merely about transforming work; it's about fostering a sustainable and efficient agricultural ecosystem, which could also lead to a very productive future. For example, during a press conference at CES 2022, John Deere presented a fully automated tractor for large-scale production. This tractor is set to operate automatically when set in automated mode and enables farmers to focus on other tasks while monitoring the machine's performance through their mobile devices. 

All of these advancements in AgriTech truly are developing one innovative solution better than the last. And for what exactly? Well, for all the possible benefits.

  • High Productivity & Resource Efficiency

The use of technology in agriculture has one objective: to make a task simpler, better, or more efficient. This could mean many things: enhanced productivity, reduced costs, time, or human efforts. 

While the first investment in AgriTech could be higher than conventional options, in the long run, the cost savings could be substantial. Take, for example, the Montes del Plata Irrigation System. The company wanted to reduce tree mortality during the dry season, so they needed to use an automatic watering machine that could water all trees faster than humanly possible. 

In Digital Sense, we helped create a Computer Vision module for the new automatic watering machine. Despite the big investment in the machine and development of the system, Montes del Plata has cut operational costs by 66%, and rows of trees are irrigated 100% faster than before, reducing tree mortality significantly. 

This is exactly what we mean by saying that using the right technology in agriculture can make it more productive and reduce costs, time, and effort. 

  • Better Insights with Data Analysis

Data makes all the difference. From information about crop status to soil conditions and weather patterns, data analytics will be the perfect ally to make the most difficult decisions. A data-driven approach could lead to better decision-making, reducing risks and increasing productivity. 

However, having access to data is only the first step, as interpretation is what will give farmers the right information to make a decision that makes the most sense regarding the results. Using Data Science, information can be read, analyzed, and shown in the best way for every user to understand what is happening. 

  • Eyes Everywhere with Aerial Coverage

Agriculture uses imagery almost all the time to make decisions, track progress, and collect data. Using satellite imaging or sending a drone to take aerial images of farming plots to check for weeds, plant disease, product quality, and stage of development will allow farmers to be on top of everything without even being there.

The beauty of this is that it can be done at any scale; take the case of Uruguay, for example. The Uruguayan government and the Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with the Digital Nations and supported by the World Bank’s Global Climate Change Fund, needed to implement a national program to prevent soil erosion

Using satellite image processing and mathematical models, we developed the National GIS (Geographic Information System) for Agricultural Land Use. This system provides precise soil erosion estimations and agricultural plan control, enabling the implementation of sustainable farming practices nationally. How many acres? Well, over 3,5 Million. 

AI for the Better - Bet for a Sustainable Future

There are many incredible AI solutions that could be used for Agriculture, but what is actually really exciting is the possible positive impact that could have on our planet. AI has come a long way in the last few years. Everything we develop encourages us to think and innovate within the technology we are using and how we can actually make a difference in the world. 

If you are thinking about making the next new move in your agriculture solution, want to enhance productivity, reduce costs and timing, or find out how your solution can positively impact our planet, then don’t hesitate to contact us - it’s in our DNA.