Catie Noyes for Farm and Dairy: The world of digital agriculture is continuing to advance before our eyes, says John Fulton, associate professor in Ohio States College of Food Agriculture and Biological Engineering.
Richard Wilson for Electronics Weekly: Technologies such as IoT can be used to address the need for sustainable food production to support the current rate of population growth, according to IoT analyst firm Beecham Research.
Catie Noyes for Farm and Dairy: Precision agriculture and agricultural technology have come a long way in the past five to 10 years.
Precision agriculture isn't just rhetoric; it's real-time intelligence flowing into analytics software that transforms that flow into meaningful, practical information that farm managers can react to quickly. That data -- and that process -- have costs and, for the last few years, farmers have been stretched because commodity prices are down.
Melissa Fares for Reuters: For 12 months, farmers each get a 320-square-foot steel shipping container where they control the climate of their own farm. Under pink LED lights, they grow GMO-free greens all year round.
Bryan Thompson for Harvest Public Media: Agriculture today is a high-tech business, but as that technology has developed, so has the temptation to take short cuts and to steal trade secrets that could unlock huge profits.
Seth Murray for Photonics.com: Emerging methods for plant phenotyping involve optical sensors - from simple RGB image sensors to NIR and Raman spectroscopy.
Advanced robotics will make jobs such as harvesting easier for farmers. In time, when robots finally learn how to harvest each individual crop, farms will be able to produce more yields for human consumption.
Frank Vinlaun for Xconomy: Drones are opening up the skies to farmers who want better ways to monitor their crops.
Coupled with the electrification of farming vehicle systems and rising seed costs, the farmer faces a unique challenge: accurately planting seed in order to optimize crop yield.
Hoosier Ag Today: A new poll finds 21 percent of farmers plan to operate a drone this year. The poll found 21 percent of farmers will operate the drone themselves, while another 12 percent of farmers indicated they would opt for a third-party entity to fly drones.
Rob Trice¬ & Seana Day¬ via Forbes: ¬ Last month as our Mixing Bowl colleagues Michael Rose and An Wang were¬ interviewing Sonny Ranaswamy¬ of the USDAs NIFA to better understand current US food and agriculture labor issues, we were representing The Mixing Bowl in discussions on potential solutions to food production labor issues through automation and robotics. At this years RoboUniverse event in San Diego there was a full-day track on December 14th dedicated to the application of robotics to agriculture. The industry track, pulled together in great part by Nathan Dorn, CEO of Food Origins and an Advisor to The Mixing Bowl, featured a knowledgeable group of automation/robotics experts and food producers who drew on their experience to define the opportunities and sharpen focus on the challenges.¬ Nathan authored a detailed summary of the day in a¬ post on Agfunder. Our conclusion is that there is no denying that we are still in the early days of adoption of robotics in agriculture. ¬ Cont'd...
Richmond Nursery in Ontario Saves More Than $50,000 a Year Using an Leviton Environmental Control System
Aya Takada¬ for Bloomberg: ¬ Jin Kawaguchiya gave up a career in finance to help revive Japans ailing dairy industry -- one robot at a time. In a country that relies increasingly on imported foods like cheese and butter, Japans milk output tumbled over two decades, touching a 30-year low in 2014. Costs rose faster than prices as the economy stagnated, eroding profit, and aging farmers quit the business because they couldnt find enough young people willing to take on the hard labor of tending to cows every day. But technology is altering that dynamic. On the northern island of Hokkaido, Japans top dairy-producing region, Kawaguchiya transformed the 20-cow farm he inherited from his father-in-law 16 years ago into Asias largest automated milking factory. Robots extract the white fluid from 360 cows three times a day and make sure the animals are fed and healthy. The machines even gather up poop and deposits it in a furnace that generates electricity. ¬ Cont'd...
From MIT: ¬ The Food Computer is a¬ controlled-environment agriculture¬ technology platform that uses robotic systems to control and monitor climate, energy, and plant growth inside of a specialized growing chamber. Climate variables such as carbon dioxide, air temperature, humidity, dissolved oxygen, potential hydrogen, electrical conductivity, and root-zone temperature are among the many conditions that can be controlled and monitored within the growing chamber. Operational energy, water, and mineral consumption are monitored (and adjusted) through electrical meters, flow sensors, and controllable chemical dosers throughout the growth period. Each specific set of conditions can be thought of as a¬ climate recipe, and each recipe produces unique results in the phenotypes of the plants. Plants grown under different conditions may vary in color, size, texture growth rate, yield, flavor, and nutrient density. Food Computers can even program biotic and abiotic stresses, such as an induced drought, to create desired plant-based expressions... (project homepage)
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