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Technologizing agriculture
Kirkpatrick K.  Communications of the ACM 62 (2): 14-16, 2019. Type: Article
Date Reviewed: Jun 6 2019

New technologies continue to revolutionize agricultural business processes. Today, farmers use technologies such as drones, robots, and sensors to cautiously and resourcefully track and manage agricultural assets and operative factors. But what is the role of emerging technologies in agricultural business? In this concise article, Kirkpatrick invigoratingly tackles this question.

The author clearly articulates the application of technologies in agriculture today. Farmers use robotic techniques to inspect, study, and harvest vegetables planted indoors. Robots are used to collect the properties of vegetables, such as size and harvest readiness, in real time. Farmers use Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to monitor and coordinate the distribution of water and manure to crops, and to test soil acidity and soil dampness levels for soaking and overflowing. Flying drones equipped with sensors are used to track temperatures and to identify plant yields, diseases, and damages. In a single flight, drones can provide pictorial, thermographic, and multispectral image data to farmers. Undeniably, livestock management is also benefiting from new agricultural technologies. Farmers use radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and Internet-connected collars in real time, to detect parturition in cows and to monitor herds based on the breeding situation.

As Kirkpatrick appropriately states, applied technologies in agriculture will continue to reduce labor costs and boost productivity and efficiency for farmers. Unfortunately, modern agricultural technologies are not available in many developing countries. Should farmers in developing countries continue to use labor-intensive hoes to make ridges, mow weeds, and plant and harvest acres of crops? What can be done to help minimize the digital divide in the availability of modern agricultural technologies worldwide?

Reviewer:  Amos Olagunju Review #: CR146591 (1909-0351)
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