How is agriculture changing and what technologies are facilitating this?
A few centuries ago the world was largely predominated by farmers. In that setting no less than 90% of the world’s population practiced what was for the most part subsistent farming, providing food and cash crop for their needs as well as that of their immediate family. Today, however, that story has changed – only 2% of the world’s population produce and satisfy the planets ever-growing appetite for agricultural produce. Mechanised farming leads the trail, and worldwide science continues to radically improve agricultural productivity and efficiency.
While advancement in both science and technology have no doubt prospered radical breakthroughs in the agricultural sector, there’s no arguing the fact that a lot is still yet to come. In this article, we consider emerging scientific innovations currently paving this pathway towards improved agricultural efficiency and productivity.
Identifying the menace before it lives up to its reputation
One problem the farmers of today, like their ancient counterparts, have to contend with is that of crop pest and diseases. Alone, diseases, specifically those caused by soil pathogens prosper economic losses that amount to over 1.7 billion pounds in the UK. If that figure sounds alarming, then consider the fact that on a global scale crop diseases inflict a whopping 412 billion pounds of losses every year. All this is aside from the indirect but still marked effect these diseases have on the environment and agricultural sustainability at large. The good news is that, as was in the past, strategies exist to combat these issues. However, unlike in ancient times, today’s disease management practices adopt a more proactive approach where growers aim to identify and terminate disease-causing agents before they infect crop plants.
This renewed vigilante approach as perfected by startups like FungiAlert leverages advancements in the field of soil, water and substrate analysis to identify and precisely target harmful pathogenic material in the soil, water or substrates used to cultivate plant crops. The benefits thereof are more than astonishing. Aside from equipping farmers with the requisite knowledge to curtail and eventually stop the spread of diseases, systemic approaches to curbing plant diseases like those developed by FunigAlert stop these diseases even before they affect farmers’ crops. In so doing they put an end to the somewhat customary loss (both economic and social) that occur cyclically before crop diseases are visble to the eye– a classic tale of making a stitch in time to save nine.
Prospering sustainable farming
Sustainable agriculture, however, goes past merely targeting and neutralising disease-causing pathogens. In today’s rapidly evolving agricultural sector, the sustainable farmer is the one with an agile, productive and highly scalable strategy to boost crop yield and perhaps more importantly, ensure that this can be sustained indefinitely. Science and technology lend to this cause by providing a means for farmers to develop an actionable roadmap fortified with industry best practices for maximising productivity.
In the field of soil science, marked improvements in the business of soil, water and substrate analysis has lead to invaluable insights, that are rapidly improving agricultural productivity. Ordinarily, these insights, functioning as a guiding beam, serve as a yardstick for mapping out agricultural practices that drive sustainability. In addition to this, however, they also arm farmers with the foresight to predict the best possible trajectory for maximising production, efficiency, and profits. As an example, FungiAlert helps growers assess the overall health of their farmland/growing systems, in addition to providing an understanding of the effectiveness of certain chemical/biological products on the microbial ecosystem of the soil. Together these metrics serve as a base point for drumming up pest and disease control mechanisms and improving crop yield. They can also be used to determine optimal harvesting times and the best means of post-harvest storage, all of which again, culminates in the furtherance of the sector’s sustained push towards sustainability.
Overall, what we’re seeing now are the initial, yet ground breaking steps of the agricultural sector’s innovation backed transition into a heightened state of productivity and efficiency. For the 21st century farmer integrating these science-oriented technologies of the future is now more than ever a needs must, especially considering the fact that compared to traditional methods these solutions are unarguably more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. Expect a redefined state of global agricultural sustainability and self-sufficiency if and when sustained adoption of these technologies by all classes of farmers becomes a reality.
The FungiAlert Team