Feeding the Future: Farming with Intelligent Automation
The world’s population will reach 9.1 billion by 2050 and to feed the larger population, food production will have to increase by 70%, according to a report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
That puts additional pressure on the agriculture industry, especially the farmers. Already, they’re dealing with domestic and global competition, diminishing resources, rising material and transportation costs, and environmental changes. Going forward, they will have to achieve even higher yields from their fields and orchards in the most cost-effective way to stay in business.
How can farmers become more efficient when faced with all those issues? Intelligent automation that combines Robotic Process Automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) is providing a solution. The fact is, intelligent automation has become a big industry in helping agriculture, including farmers, traders, and distributors, meet production needs. And it’s expected to do even more in the future. According to Forbes, “Global spending on smart, connected agricultural technologies and systems, including AI and ML, is projected to triple in revenue by 2025, reaching $15.3 billion.”
So, what makes intelligent automation so appealing, especially to the farmers? Their job is process- and data-intensive, often requiring extensive manual work. In general, intelligent automation can streamline and accelerate processes, freeing users for higher-value work. It can be used to automate a large portion of farm management to assist with planning and predicting outcomes and, on the business side of farming, analyzing pricing and improving accounting methods.
Information is key to being successful
Farmers need all sorts of information to help them know when and where to plant and what to plant such as what the weather will be like, the availability of labor, what kind of prices they can expect for materials, including seeds and fertilizer, transportation expenses, the ongoing health of their soil and crops, and even the state of the national and international market and the political climate.
That information can come from many sources. Internet of Things (IoT) technology is now being used in agriculture. Smart sensors are placed in the soil, in drones, and in farm equipment such as tractors, planters, and harvesters to monitor and measure, yielding real-time information about the condition of the fields and orchards and how they’re being worked—efficiently or not. Information also comes from the media, private industry, and government sources—and in a variety of formats such as documents, email, text, video, satellite imagery, and raw data.
Gathering and analyzing the information manually can be time-intensive, open the door for errors, and make it difficult to gain an overall perspective on conditions. Farmers must deal with all that while still handling their primary job: farming the land.
Bringing everything together
Intelligent automation bots can free farmers from information-related challenges. The bots can quickly and easily capture data from the sources, in all the formats, organize and analyze the data, and provide recommendations to answer farmers’ questions about how to proceed for better decision-making.
Insights created with Intelligent automation help farmers:
- Explore the best field- and orchard- management practices to grow more crops with fewer resources
- Be proactive about crop health for increased yields
- Practice “precision farming,” with guidance on a variety of tasks such as water management, disease control, crop rotation, harvesting, and more
- Keep tabs on the supply chain to minimize planting and harvest delays
- Monitor the current market for materials and crops for fair pricing
- Effectively manage a permanent and seasonal workforce
Those tasks can be made even easier with the right intelligent automation platform.
Automation for all
A platform featuring low-code/no-code capability in the cloud makes it possible for everyone—even someone with no prior RPA expertise—to take advantage of what intelligent automation has to offer. And with a solution in the cloud, there’s no need for an on-site system that comes with capital and maintenance expenses.
It all adds up a cost-effective, easy-to-use solution that can help farmers grow their crops as well as their business. Discover what it can do for your business—no matter the industry.