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Food demands have been escalating due to population explosion worldwide that is boosting the need for smart agriculture. The smart agriculture involves advanced technologies such as Big Data, GPS, Internet of Things and connected devices. Such techniques have helped in the automation of farming, a collection of data from the field and the analysis so that the farmer can take an accurate decision in order to get high-quality production. However, what makes farmers be able to make decisions? Owing to sensors, cameras, micro-controllers, and actuators large field data are collected, which they are transferred via the internet to the operator or the farmer for decision making.
Since automated vehicles have already driven themselves across the large fields using Global Positioning System (GPS) signals, it has paved the way for farmers to plant more precisely, but the real potential is what happens when intense data are collected from thousands of tractors on thousands of farms, grouped and analyzed in real time. The advent of Big Data and advanced analytics capabilities and robotics such as aerial imagery, sensors, and sophisticated local weather forecasts have potential to transform the traditional farming pursuits and thus ensure the rise in global agricultural productivity over the next few decades.
Over the years, agriculture technology has used, named as Precision Farming (PA), due to which farming trends are reshaped for the benefit of society. What is Precision Farming? It is an approach for farm management that engages Information Technology (IT) to ensure that the crops and soil receive exactly the amount how much is required for optimum health and productivity. The aim of Precision Farming is to ensure profitability, sustainability, and protection of the environment.
PA is also recognized as Satellite Agriculture.
PA consists of specialized equipment, software, and IT services. The given approach is to access real-time data about the health of crops, soil, and conditions of air flowing around along with other relevant information such as hyper-local weather predictions, labor costs and availability of required equipment.
Now, what do sensors do in fields? Sensors measure the moisture content and temperature of the soil and surrounding air. Satellites and robotic drones cater to farmers with real-time images of individual plants. Collected information from images can be processed and integrated with a sensor and other data to attain guidance for immediate and future decisions, such as what fields to water and when or where to plant a particular crop with precision.
Precision agriculture was limited to only bigger operations that were helpful in supporting technological resources and other IT infrastructure in the past. Today, mobile applications, smart sensors, drones, and cloud computing have taken the PA to another level, which makes even the small scale farmers opt smart agriculture and help them usher in a new era in farming.
Nowadays, natural resources depletion has become a contentious issue, such as soil and water; there is a technique to mitigate the conditions called Hydroponics.
This technique allows farmers to grow plants without soil and this has been witnessed by various countries especially in Asia region.
Hydroponics further has two divisions, one is Aeroponics and the other is Aquaponics.
Where, ‘Hydro’ means water and ‘ponics’ means labor/work, similarly ‘Aero’ means air. Both techniques have a common thing that none uses soil as a medium for plantation. On the other hand, both are differentiated with water applied to the roots of the plants.
In Hydroponics, nutritional water is continuously flowing beneath and around roots or roots of plants is emerged in water all time flowing around. The essential nutrients and minerals are put into water solvent in an adequate amount.
In Aeroponics, plants are suspended in a way that their roots are exposed to air without the use of soil or any other medium. The nutritional water is applied to the roots of the plants via 20-50 mm mist heads using high-pressure misters.
In Aquaponics, fishes’ excrement is extremely beneficial in the growing of plants and the water consists excretion is observed by plant roots, after the optimum intake of nutrients, plants filter the water and the fresh form of water is get back to fishes.