A new globalised age has resulted in a higher standard of living, and a cornucopia of transnational consumer choice, which has resulted in wider human consumption. The planet is under pressure as a result of this, due to the nine billion population's mounting demand for fuel, food and crops. Predictions have been made that in order to meet this high elasticity of demand, production will double in the next two to three decades.
The solution to this revelation is for farming production systems to be sharpened for the efficient use of resources. The resources themselves cannot be regenerated, as land athough is constant at best, is becoming increasingly overgrown and overused, whilst water resouces are running slim and nutrient supplies becoming more expensive. Through innovative and dynamic scientific advances in software and genetics, a new practice of Precision Farming can be implemented to help measure, monitor and allocate resouces for farming effectively.
Precision Farming will be based on intricate notions of computer science. A web of interlocking networks between support centres on the farm and support centres in offices of suppliers and agronomic decision support centres are proposed. This symbiotic relationship between the farm and the nervecentre, will allow for communication on land management to be easily transmitted and applied instantaneously on specific site. Precision Farming also includes the adoption of GIS or GPS based databases, which document the outputs and inputs on each field to improve crop production. GIS which stands for Geospatial Information Systems, will manage and store all forms of geographical information within a database, in this case with regards to agricultural farming. Whilst GPS, is a satellite navigation system that monitors and stores all information on weather conditions as long as their is an unobstructed line of sight that links to four or more GPS satellites. These databases are also for management decisions.
Other plans include using software that can source and rate seeds, fertilizers and pesticides; which are then noted within the database. Additionally, Human Field Scouts (CCAs) will still be used, yet robotics, drones and digital cameras will make their work easier and more efficient. The use of drones, which capture rainfall and water levels to combat the problems of drought or pollution, can capture images, determine plant conditions and measure atmospheric gases. Impressively, drones can replicate the size of a hummingbird that can whiz around the field quickly and economically pick up information, or be nearly invisible.
Moreover, larger more visible equipment, can include the use of a motor rotor helicopter that can overlook land across a wider stretch of space. Whilst any yeild monitor data collected in the databases can be used to document harvests and their variability.
Precision Farming's endless possibilities can also incorporate nano technology that can help monitor weather and crop conditions, and help link up multiple farms between communicative networks to make statistical inferences and detect patterns or abnormalities across many areas.
There is a real possibility to install projects such as the 'National Science Foundation Blue Waters System' at the University of Illinois. Blue Waters manages huge agricultural databases for future decisions. Are we confident enough in making this largescale proposal a reality? Will we be willing to open up our data on our farms and share it? How much will precision farming contribute to global food security and crop yields? And will we one day be able to link up farm data with supercomputers to build global and national databases?
The future of precision farming is of importance to agINFRA as it focuses on how computing and software can make innovative contributions to agriculture.
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