Some folks who aren’t in the industry may think of agriculture as static or antiquated. Agriculture is indeed steeped in tradition, and there’s nothing new about regenerative agriculture, which was practiced until relatively recently in human history and is once again growing in popularity. However, agriculture is also a realm of innovation and constant progress. Ultimately, farmers and innovators seek to answer the same question: how do we feed the world? More precisely, how do we feed the world in a way that ensures we have resources available to do so continuously? If we destroy all our arable soil today, we can’t feed the world tomorrow.
Funding for agtech reaches record heights in 2022
Funding for agriculture technology, or agtech, indicates how innovation and progress are integral to the growing community. For example, Crunchbase, a company that tracks public and private companies’ revenue and startup funding, recorded nearly $5 billion invested in the agtech sector in 2021. This was a record year for agtech, which previously saw $3.3 billion invested in 2020 and $1.1 billion in 2017.
With hundreds of companies all attempting to answer the same question, it can be challenging to figure out which technologies and processes are here to stay. Fortunately, there are distinct trends in innovation that illustrate which technologies to be aware of. Many of these new technologies in agriculture focus on connectivity, connecting the grower to data for more precise, individualized farming practices. You may already routinely use these technologies in your operations, but we’ve entered a time where progress in modern technology is accelerating. As we near the end of 2022, let’s take a look at new technologies in agriculture we can expect for 2023.
Top 5 emerging technologies in agtech
At Fruit Growers Supply, we’ve checked out the pros in agtech and startup research to determine the most impactful emerging technologies that will benefit our growers. We looked at the VC trackers at Crunchbase, the research gurus at StartUs who delved into 589 agtech companies to examine trends, and the insight observers at Global Agtech Initiative to bring you the most relevant technological advancements in agriculture.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is all the physical technological items that gather, process, and exchange information about data. It combines sensors, systems, and software that communicate over the Internet. In agriculture, IoT solutions help growers use their resources optimally to maximize crop yield, reduce water, pesticide, and fertilizer use, monitor soil moisture and other growing conditions, and reduce operational costs. IoT solutions in agriculture have been improving and increasingly adopted recently. One survey expects the size of the global smart agriculture market to reach $15.3 billion by 2025, up from $5 billion in 2016. IoT smart farming is a holistic system that can help you monitor your field conditions from anywhere and make data-informed decisions about your operations.
Complementing IoT systems is Artificial Intelligence or AI. AI enhances the data that your various sensors gather and can help you make optimized decisions regarding resource use like water. In California, smart water use is more important than ever, and fully integrated smart systems are one way to ensure you only use the water you need during the ideal conditions for irrigation. AI also optimizes energy use and can make your operations smarter by integrating with drones and robots. Machine learning allows AI systems to tailor decisions and recommendations to your operational needs based on prior experiences.
There’s nothing like a bird’s eye view of your fields to get a complete picture of your operations. Growers are increasingly using drones to check plant health, analyze soil conditions, and manage livestock. Unmanned ground vehicles can take a closer look than aerial vehicles and help you get a complete understanding of your fields.
Agriculture robots don’t just complete manual labor around your fields; they can also assist in data gathering and connect with your IoT-enabled systems. As a result, robots can save you time on tasks and perform with greater precision and less error than humans. For instance, you might use robotics in your steering systems, and some agriculture sectors utilize robots for precise harvesting.
One key component of smart farming systems is how all the various objects can communicate. Satellite technology is critical for transmitting data, and this is one area of technology expected to see enormous funding and advancements in 2023. After all, if you can’t access your data reliably or the quality of data detailing your operations is sub-par, your systems won’t save you as much money or maximize yield. GIS and GPS technologies can help growers analyze their properties in real time and respond to localized issues in their operations.
Here for your agtech needs
These five innovations aren’t the only developments FGS is eyeing for the future. 2023 is sure to see advancements in biofertilizers and crop protection, as well as sensors that can help monitor your soil microbes. So as we approach the end of the year, it’s a good time to think about how you can improve your operating systems for 2023. Stop by one of our supply stores, or give us a call to speak with one of our experts to learn about your options for the next steps in optimizing your growing operations.
Have any questions? We’re happy to help – stop in one of our supply stores today, or fill out our contact form by clicking below.