Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture

By Anurag Jakkula


When one hears the term “artificial intelligence,” one usually thinks of something along the lines of a smart robot, self driving car, or speech recognition application. However, artificial intelligence is defined as, “The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence”(Oxford Languages). One of the most essential tasks of human intelligence is agriculture. Recent developments in the field of agriculture “can positively impact GDP’s of countries, improve food security, and even positively impact the environment” (Munoz). The current market for agricultural artificial intelligence is 766.1 million dollars, and is expected to be 2468.02 million dollars by 2026 (Mordor Intelligence).


Artificial intelligence algorithms which monitor and predict climate and resource situations have been of immense use to farmers. For example, The Nutrition Early Warning System (NEWS), gathers data from numerous sources and predicaments to evaluate and predict effects on food supply. The data that its algorithm evaluates include price changes, weather conditions, and other global issues. FAO’s WaPOR algorithm currently assesses the water situation in the Near East and African regions. This system continuously analyzes large amounts of data to provide details about the best use of water for various crops and regions. Similarly, FaO’s ASIS monitors agricultural areas with a high likelihood of drought, using satellite technology. Such predictive technology saved Colombian farmers millions of dollars, since they avoided growing crops during a predicted drought.


Artificial Intelligence is also extremely beneficial as a tool for farmers. An AI application, Climate Basic, can identify the best location to plant corn based upon temperature, soil quality, and precipitation. Japan has widely embraced the use of artificial intelligence to enhance farming. Xarvio Field Manager analyzes the type of crop, weather conditions, and satellite images to give farmers models which include advice on how crops should be grown optimally, including what crop protection should be provided. To improve on this, BASF has plans to integrate sensors and cameras mounted on tractors and drones with this software. In addition, Nihon Nohyaku has developed an AI smartphone application which can detect the types of pests and the correct agrochemical to combat them.


Another large development in agricultural artificial intelligence is AI drones. These drones not only enhance the efficiency of agriculture, but they also increase worker safety. For example, with an AI-enhanced algorithm, automated drones in Argentina scan wheat for infections and pests. In Japan, the start-up Nileworks has developed an AI driven agricultural drone which delivers agrochemicals to crops. Another Japanese company, Sumitomo, is working with Purdue University to develop an algorithm which allows drones to visually detect and deliver a plant's fertilizer and agrochemical needs in the correct amount.


Agriculture is one of the many industries in which AI has found its well-deserved place. With such a large growth scope, agricultural artificial intelligence will soon ease the lives of farmers and ensure efficiently grown quality crops. Not only this, but once agricultural AI grows to be a huge market, both the people and government will give agriculture its well deserved respect and attention.


Citations:

https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/ai-in-agriculture-market

https://borgenproject.org/ai-increases-food-security/

https://cmr.berkeley.edu/2020/03/ai-agriculture/

http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1309630/icode/#:~:text=The%20Agricultural%20Stress%20Index%20System,country%20level%2C%20using%20satellite%20technology

https://cen.acs.org/food/agriculture/AI-drones-come-farm-Japan/98/i36


Images:

Barley Field Wheat Agriculture - Free photo on Pixabay

Earth Drought Ground - Free photo on Pixabay

Drone Camera Flying - Free photo on Pixabay


What did you learn?

Questions:

1. Is the market for AI in agriculture growing or dropping? What does this say about its future?

The market for AI in agriculture is growing rapidly. The current market for agricultural artificial intelligence is 766.1 million dollars, and is expected to be 2468.02 million dollars by 2026 (Mordor Intelligence). This shows that agricultural AI has a bright future and a large scope.


2. How is Japan utilizing and developing agricultural AI especially well?

Japanese companies have designed many agricultural AI softwares to enhance farming. For example, Nihon Nohyaku has developed an AI smartphone application that can detect the types of pests and the correct agrochemical to combat them. In addition, Sumitomo is working with Purdue University to develop an algorithm that allows drones to visually detect and deliver a plant's fertilizer and agrochemical needs in the correct amount.




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