Artificial Intelligence in Agriculture

Sunish Sharma
Agriculture is considered to be the backbone of Indian economy and plays an important role in the overall socio-economic development of India. In today’s era of growth and development one needs to be updated with the precise information pertaining to the area of agriculture which can be achieved by using the concept of artificial intelligence.
The efficiency of farming lies in a farmer’s ability to predict natural conditions and react to them in the quickest way possible. A few decades ago, the precision of such forecasts wasn’t so reliable but now, it’s impressively havingbecome possibleby instant data gathering and distribution with the help of various artificial intelligence tools and techniques. There is no other business that involves more risk than agriculture. When the weather strikes or crops get affected by various types of disease, farmers can hardly talk about its crop production and productivity. Since this business lacks technologies that is why when a global pandemic hits all of a sudden it gets harder to mitigate the losses. At the same time, the global population is growing, and urbanization is increasing leading to contraction of lands. Disposable income is rising, and consumption habits are changing and the farmers are under a lot of pressure to meet the increasing demand, and they need a precise way to increase its crop productivity.
Fifty years from now, there will be more people to feed and since the amount of fertile soil is limited, there will also be a need to move from traditional farming techniques to Precision farming techniques. Implementationof artificial intelligence in agriculture on a global scale is one of the most promising opportunities that will help farmers to minimize their risks, or at least make them more manageable. Artificial Intelligence can potentially change the way we see agriculture, enabling farmers to achieve more results withless effort while bringing many other benefits. Combining artificial intelligence and agriculture can be beneficial for the crop selection and will help farmers identify what produce will be most profitable. Farmers can use forecasting and predictive analytics to reduce errors in business processes and minimize the risk of crop failures by using artificial intelligence techniques. By collecting data on plant growth, Artificial Intelligence can help produce crops that are less prone to disease and better adapted to weather conditions. Artificial Intelligence is useful for identifying optimal irrigation patterns and nutrient application times and predicting the optimal mix of agronomic products. With the help of artificial intelligence, it’s possible to automate harvesting and even predict the best time for it. Artificial Intelligence enables better decision-making by analyzing market demand, forecasting prices, and by determining the optimal time for sowing.
Artificial Intelligence can also gather soil health insights, provide fertilizer recommendations, monitor the weather, and track the readiness of produce. All of that enables farmers to make better decisions at every stage of the crop cultivation process. Artificial Intelligence can’t exist without other technologies already in place such as big data, sensors, and software and likewise, other technologies need Artificial Intelligence for them to function properly. Use of Internet of Things sensors and other supporting technology like use of Drones and GIS can be used to monitor, measure, and store data from fields on a variety of metrics in real time. Agriculture has always been subjected to the problem of shortage of labor which can also be rectified by combined use of Artificial intelligence along with autonomous tractors and Internet of Things. These technologies are also potentially cost-effective because they’re more accurate and thus reduce errors. Taken together, artificial intelligence, autonomous tractors, and Internet of Things are the key to precision agriculture.There are better prospects for digital transformation in agriculture backed by leveraging technologies like Artificial Intelligence. Now, the farmers have to cope up with changing scenario to bring digital transformation in the agriculture by implementing artificial intelligence. The era of transforming agriculture by using artificial intelligence is an emerging trend that will help spur an agricultural revolution.
(The authors are from SKUAST, Jammu)