Cultivation/Production, Equipment/Technology, News July 2024, North America, Smart Farming, Trends

Robots, drones and driverless tractors usher in new age of farming in the U.S.

Tractors plow the farm fields without drivers, guided by satellites and iPhones. Solar-powered robots tend to plants on the ground like giant outdoor Roombas, while drones fly overhead spraying the crops, writes Michael Hirtzer for Bloomberg News

It may sound like science fiction — perhaps Uncle Owen’s moisture farm in Star Wars — but it’s actually the future of agriculture in America, and it’s already being deployed in California vineyards and corn fields in Illinois. Automation and artificial intelligence promise to usher in a revolutionary shift for an industry long averse to change.

“We’ve really had relatively little innovation in tractors since we switched from metal wheels to rubber wheels about 100 years ago,” said Rob Myers, director of the center for regenerative agriculture at the University of Missouri. He adds that the transformation “won’t happen overnight,” as it will take time before autonomous features see wide use.

The new machinery is arriving at a time when growers are in desperate need of making farms more efficient and sustainable with fewer human operators. The American farmer is aging and the number of farms is dwindling, while the industry has been under pressure from sliding prices for key crops. 

Here’s a closer look at how technology is reshaping agriculture.

Source: Bloomberg News. Read the full story here
Image: Credit Thomas Ehrhardt from Pixabay

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