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Featured Monitoring & Growing White Papers

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All Monitoring & Growing White Papers

GROUND AND AERIAL ROBOTS FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

Today, highly automated systems are employed in crop and animal industries to enhance agricultural input efficiency and thus increase agricultural output with reduced adverse impact on the environment. Ground and aerial robots combined with artificial intelligence techniques are able to tackle the rising food, fiber, and fuel demands of the rapidly growing population that is slated to be around 10 billion by the year 2050. This issue paper presents opportunities provided by ground and aerial robots for improved crop and animal production, and the challenges associated with their progress and adoption.

AGRICULTURE AND THE MICROBIOME

Agriculture is one of the keystones of human civilization, providing a reliable, stationary source of food that allowed ancient populations to grow and eventually build cities. Modern agriculture is successful today because of advances in mechanization, breeding, nutrients (e.g., fertilization), and pest and disease management, all of which enhance crop productivity and provide greater food security. Yet even with this progress, the amount of cropland per capita has declined, available farmland is being consumed by urban development at unprecedented rates, and crop yields are plateauing. Crop yields must continue to increase and the gap between plant productivity and consumption must be bridged. Expanding the use of crop microbiomes to improve plant production is that next agricultural revolution.

LUMINESCENT GREENHOUSE FILMS IMPROVE CROP YIELDS

Now that LEDs are available with customized spectra, growers are beginning to consider how the spectrum of the light can improve their annual production. Unfortunately, LED supplemental lighting is expensive to install and operate. Growers need a better option for improving their spectrum.