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Friday, April 16, 2021

Farm Automation Advances

More picks on my agriculture and botany advances.     Some good related statistics.

Automating the Farm, By Esther Shein, Commissioned by CACM Staff 

 Step inside the cab of the John Deere 8RX Tractor, and you may be surprised at how it resembles an airplane cockpit, with systems and maps that produce lots of data (and a comfortable seat, to boot). Attached to that cab is a planter equipped with 300 sensors and 140 controllers that methodically and precisely deliver seed to the soil in near-perfect rows.

Farming is often an inexact science. As global demands on agriculture continue to grow, Deere and others are looking to change that with precision agriculture technology.

The human population of the world is expected to climb from an estimated 7.8 billion in 2020 to 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100, according to the United Nations World Population Prospects reports. As the population grows, demands on farmers also are growing; they are tasked with feeding the world, but with increasingly less land and fewer resources, while facing the impacts of climate change.

Companies like John Deere and startup EarthSense are looking to address those challenges. Increasingly, robotics, GPS controls, computer vision, and sensors embedded with machine learning are being added to farm equipment to do things like plant seeds, identify weeds so herbicide can be sprayed in the right places, and even pick strawberries.

This is expected to advance the deployment of smart and autonomous farm machinery, according to market research firm McKinsey. "Increasing the autonomy of machinery through better connectivity could create $50 billion to $60 billion of additional value by 2030," the firm said.

In 2018, some 10% to 15% of U.S. farmers were using Internet of Things (IoT) systems across 3.1 billion acres and 250,000 farms, and were collectively spending about $960 million.

Almost 230 million acres were covered by John Deere technology alone in 2020 across more   .... '

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