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7 Advantages of AI in Agriculture

  • Pragya Soni
  • Mar 11, 2022
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India is a land of agriculture. With three cropping seasons, agriculture contributes about 20% of India’s GDP growth. This makes it necessary to evolve and upgrade this sector on a regular basis. This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes in. AI has enough potential to transform the agriculture sector. It can take the traditional farming approach into innovative and modern farming ways.

 

In this blog, we will study the advantages and limitations of AI in the agriculture sector and the top trends of AI in this sector.

 

Also Read | Technologies Improving Agriculture Analytics

 

 

AI and Agriculture

 

AI is defined as an embedded brain into machines and equipment. While agriculture is the practice of growing crops on large areas for meeting the needs of the population. 

 

AI when applied to agriculture known as precision agriculture. In the agriculture sector AI is used for field harvesting, health monitoring, pest control, and deficiency detection. The benefits of implementing artificial intelligence in agriculture are as follows:


 

  1. Market demands analysis.

 

  1. Efficient production.

 

  1. Risk assessment and management.

 

  1. Soil monitoring.

 

  1. Breeding and hybridity of seeds.

 

  1. Crop safety.

 

  1. Automatic harvesting.

 

  1. Better decision making.

 

  1. Cost efficient.

 

  1.  Real-time data collection.

 

Also Read | What is Prescriptive Analysis?

 

 

Advantages of AI in Agriculture

 

Both machine learning and AI are replacing the outdated methods of forecasting and intelligence in the agricultural sector. AI helps the agricultural sector be more adaptable by applying the latest technologies to the field.

 

Here is the list of different ways by which AI is easing the food supply chain. And making the agriculture sector essential and affordable for both the producers and consumers:


Merits of AI in Agriculture :Automatic weedingAutomatic harvestingPlant disease detectionSoil health monitoringIrrigation managementIncreased productivityPredict the pesticides and fertilizers requirements

Merits of AI in Agriculture


 

  1. Automatic Weeding

 

Weeds are the wild plants that are grown automatically in the field and stunt the growth of the main food crop. These steal sunlights and nutrients from the crop. Increasing the vulnerability of main crops, weeds make the main plant more targeted for pest attacks.

 

In traditional methods, farmers used manpower to get these weeds removed. But  the advent of AI has opened one more way for the farmers, known as automatic weeding. Automatic weeding employs robots and machines to remove the weeds from the field. This is done by the means of laser lights. 

 

Robots and AI machines survey the entire field. They are equipped with cameras. These cameras are further attached to software identifying the weeds. One identified, the AI commands its high-energy lasers to eradicate these weeds using thermal energy. 

 

 

  1. Automatic Harvesting

 

Harvesting is the process of gathering important parts of crops for the personal and business benefits. Traditional methods of harvesting involve handpicking and manual labor. But AI employs machines and software for this purpose.

 

The software equips the camera to recognize the harvesting products. Harvesting products include fruits or vegetables. After analyzing the targeted products, the machine commands the AI to pick them and collect them. In recent years, these machines have been employed for the collection of peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, apples and other fruits.

 

One more astonishing fact is that these machines choose and pick only ripe fruits and vegetables. The concept beyond this is predictive analysis. The machine learning algorithms use the historical and fed data to make decisions and detect objects. 

 

 

  1. Plant Disease Detection

 

One of the other advantages of AI is that it helps in identifying the diseases of the plants and the crops. There are many such AI applications present online. These applications help in detecting plant health problems. After analyzing the problems, by means of the internet these applications also find the solutions for them.

 

AI follows the technique of image recognition to implement the intelligent farming solution. The plant image captured by the camera is run through an image recognition software. The software further generates the disease information, method of control and treatment. 

 

One such application is Plantix. It is one of the growing apps. It has a database that consists of information related to more than 100,000 photos of the sick plants. Also, it can identify more than 60 plant diseases. For consideration, it can give information related to every disease that affects tomatoes, peppers, melons, squash, and lettuce.

 

Check out this video to know how Plantix detects plant diseases :


 

 


  1. Soil Health Monitoring

 

Soil is the basic necessity of farming. Soil helps the plants and crops to grow. A healthy nutrient soil enables the efficient plants growth and more profits. Hence it is equivalently important to detect the deficiencies of the soil to prevent the net yield loss. 

 

The traditional analysis techniques are not efficient enough to deliver the desirable results. But its drawbacks are covered by the AI software. AI analysis equipment is taken by taking a pinch of soil samples. The sample is analyzed in the lab by different machines and procedures.

 

The data derived after analysis is then compared with hundreds of samples present in different online databases. Later, the final predictions are made indicating the moisture level, nutritional deficiencies, pH level and microbes presence of the soil. And also, give recommendations and solutions to improve the soil quality.

 

  1. Irrigation Management

 

Irrigation is the other most required thing for agriculture. Different crops have different water requirements. The excessive water is harmful for the crops so does the inadequate lesser amounts. Around 70% of total water use counts under irrigation. 

 

Thus, it is essential to use this precious resource in an effective and optimal manner using technologies and development to ensure minimum wastage. AI resolves this problem too. The drones are equipped with software that uses advanced analytics. 

 

AI tools collect the high-resolution aerial images and collect the information about irrigation systems required for the fields. AI also helps in revealing the soil problems such as clogs and leaks. It evaluates the ill conditions of soil and rates its conditions.

 

Also Read | AI in Manufacturing

 

  1. Increased productivity

 

AI helps in enhancing the productivity of the farm. The automated and autonomous farming operations, AI enabled productions and yield management improve the net output from the field. AI-enhanced picking, packing and sorting enhance the food production, packing and sorting.

 

The robots and drones developed by the AI assist the farmers in cultivation and harvesting of the crops. Target irrigation, weed control, and crop management helps in improving the overall efficiency of the field.

 

Predictive analysis helps in detecting the early problems of the field. The early detection helps the farmers and organizations to identify the issue and prevent huge loss or damage to the crops. In coming times, AI can also be used to detect flood or drought conditions before they occur.

 

  1. Predict the requirement of pesticides

 

By studying the characteristics of the field. AI helps in analyzing the requirements of weedicides and pesticides required as per the field. AI can even trace a small change in the field.

 

AI software helps in identifying pest attacks and plant health problems. It also improves the soil fertility maintenance and saves the excess use of pesticide and herbicide as per as the specific field. 

 

And not only the monitoring of the crops, AI also helps in spraying the pesticides and weedicides in the field. The spray of chemicals by drones not only makes it effective, but also reduces human efforts and load on manpower.


 

Challenges of AI in Agriculture

 

Despite so many advantages and benefits, the government and individuals face some challenges while implementing AI in agriculture. These are as follows:

 

  1. AI sometimes fails to explain the rules for the maintenance and implementation.

 

  1. Data leakage possibilities.

 

  1. Required skilled laborers.

 

  1. Lack of knowledge among the public.

 

  1. High-cost equipment and infrastructure.

 

Also Read | AI in Cybercrime

 

Though, there are challenges, but still there is no doubt in this, that implementing AI technologies and algorithms in agriculture is an effective as well as essential need to meet the growing demand of food.

 

AI has the power to improve the crucial issues of farming like overuse of chemicals, manual labor and process efficiency. AI is making the agricultural businesses more efficient, quick and progressive.  

 

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