FARMING: New Technological Innovations & Ideas for the Fresh Produce Industry Revolution
Farming is the backbone of any nation. It is due to a simple fact that it feeds the vast population of the nation, while also providing raw materials to its massive industries. In such a condition, fresh produce is the soul of agriculture, as it provides for the health and well being of the people, who are the economic capital of the nation and also the farmlands. Over the years, as man progressed, the patterns of farming also improved and became more organised. The progress of man always needs to be complemented by progress in the production process. Some of the most recent and path breaking progress in this field are those that follow.
- Smart Farms
We live in the age of information. All industries use the Data available to improve the efficiency of their processes. These smart farms work towards Maximizing farm yields through devices connected to farm machinery that collect data on various farming parameters to make recommendations back to growers in order to assist them in maximizing the yield potential of the crops. Big data, in particular the analytical power can be applied to this data, will increasingly be used by producers, packers, processors and others to identify opportunities within their own operations for further quality improvements.
See how Big Data is coming to the farms – http://www.businessinsider.com/big-data-and-farming-2015-8?IR=T
What was once a military aviation technology is now used to grow better produce using pictures from the air, as part of a broader trend of using sensors and robotics to bring big data to precision agriculture. ‘Drones’ are miniature fixed-wing airplanes or, quad copters and other multi-bladed small helicopters. They are often equipped with an autopilot using GPS and a standard camera controlled by the autopilot; software on the ground can stitch aerial shots into a high-resolution mosaic map. The advent of this small, cheap, and easy to use device is largely due to remarkable advances in technology, which also functions as an efficient spray mechanism as also an inter/intra transportation facility.
You may check out National Geographic’s take on the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in farming at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3YcZtlVrls
- Improving Quality , Consistency And Efficiency through Various Processes
Science is something that makes human lives easier. It is something that understands the problems of modern life and finds solutions to it. That is exactly what these processes do.
Hydroponics is a technique used to grow plants without soil. In times when the renewable resources are becoming partially non-renewable, such techniques come to the rescue of troubled cultivators. The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is the most common type of hydroponics, where the plant has a constant flow of nutrients. This technique is best for salad greens. Other systems, including ebb and flow and drip systems are more efficient for larger plants like tomatoes.
Aquaponics is the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soilless growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. It is a re-circulating system of plants, nutrients, and fish. The fishes and plants co-exist as the fish waste provides nutrients for the plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the fishes. They sustain each other. The third in this game, the microbes, convert the ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, then into nitrates and the solids into vermicompost that are food for the plants.
Here is a walkthrough of an Aquaponic farm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLwwLrn2ncI
Protected agriculture is cultivation of high-value vegetables and other horticultural crops in greenhouses, large increases in yield, produce quality and revenue. They allow High water productivity, saving significant amounts of water, lead to a Significant reduction in pesticide use – lower production costs, healthier produce and also a Year-round production, allowing farmers to take advantage of market seasonality and higher prices
Vertical farming is the production of food in vertically stacked layers, vertically inclined surfaces or integrated in other structures. It uses controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) technology due to which all environmental factors can be controlled.
The shift to automation in processes where human labour is used extensively is something that all industries are experiencing and The Farming Industry is no exception. The use of automation in processing and in packaging especially, is reducing the labour intensiveness of the activity. This solution along with gentle handling, minimizes product defects, and protects the established quality. It is mainly because the number of people handling the products reduces exponentially, sometimes, to a single person. Transportation costs are also reduced by such innovative, robotic technology. This is due to the availability of transportation at production locations, particularly for small loads – automation, self-driving trucks, GPS temperature controlled containers, monitors, etc can be used to optimize production and efficiency, while ensuring longer sustenance. This robotic system in place at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIpelnM1NBE describes the efficiency of robots in harvest automation and can be utilised wherever there is scarcity of labour.
The Innovations in Farming are indeed too many to be summed up in one article. So, it will be continued in the next one.
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