2020 Vision: Top Trends in Agriculture This Year
As the Bazis Agro team looks to the year ahead, we wanted to take a moment to consider some of the biggest trends in the industry. Based on the trends we’re noticing, two major things stand out: environmental protection and new technologies.
Here is a deeper dive into how and why these are such important topics in agriculture.
With a rising population, clean water continues to be a valuable resource. An increase in people means a growing increase in the need for clean water. The agricultural industry is the largest water user (accounting for about 70 percent of total water use).
Because of this, there continues to be a growing need for technologies that help the agricultural industry use as little water as possible. Such technologies are in high demand in dry regions suffering from lack of water. Digital technologies are of significant assistance here, specifically those that help growers analyze which areas of the field require fertilizers or CPP. Thus, growers apply CPP only to those specific areas, not to the whole field. Doing this, they save a large amount of water.
Climate smart agriculture (or CSA) is another way to reduce water consumption. The idea is that farmers rely on rainfalls, harvest the rainwate, and store it to use for dry periods.
IoT service provider Sigfox shares these great tips for water conservation:
1.) Go organic
2.) Install better watering systems
3.) Choose more drought-tolerant crops
4.) Store rainwater
5.) Better optimize watering times
6.) Follow best practices for better soil quality (fertilizing with manure, adding compost, reducing tillage frequency)
7.) Rotate crops
Using products that are safe for humans and antibiotic-free
Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and their behavioral risk factors account for the most preventable diseases and deaths in the European Region. We are also facing the re-emergence of infectious diseases, including antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and an emergence of new pathogens.
By working together, the health and agriculture sectors can deliver a safe and nutritious food supply that contributes to good health and well-being and fosters healthy communities.
- Work together with the health sector and other areas of government to ensure that safe and nutritious foods are available and affordable for all
- Promote policy for the production of food and goods that address one of Europe’s greatest health challenges – noncommunicable disease
- Promote healthy sustainable rural communities by exploring the potential of short and sustainable supply chains and by making food and nutrition more secure
- Work with the health sector on international food trade issues
- Strengthen the prevention of foodborne and zoonotic diseases, including AMR
Reducing antibiotics is another recommendation. Society demands careful use of antibiotics to avoid residuals in the environment and problems with resistant bacteria. Farmers who take on this issue have proven it is possible to limit the use of antibiotics, even to zero. In Denmark, for instance, farmer field schools and Dutch farmer-network groups resulted in awareness and very low, sometimes even non-existent antibiotic use. More background on the push for antibiotic-free farming here.
Carbon neutral agriculture
Now that carbon is a known risk to our environment, companies are increasingly interested in finding out how to reduce their emissions and, in some cases, lower them to zero. This shows a high commitment to the future and can both mean better business and helping the planet stay within 1.5 degrees of its historic temperatures.
As an example, here is how the United Kingdom is putting into action a plan for carbon neutral agriculture:
- In the UK, the farm union NFU has launched a plan to make British agriculture carbon neutral in two decades
- Farming creates 10 percent of the UK’s emissions, and farmers have long been criticized for their failure to tackle their pollution
- The NFU says the industry can reduce gases almost completely by 2040 – a decade ahead of the government’s overall zero emissions target
In Australia, the federal government is recognizing company efforts in the Carbon Emissions Reduction Space. They have an approved procedure to reach ZERO emissions and the business can then use the ‘Carbon Neutral’ Logo to publicize their efforts. To be certified carbon neutral under the NCOS Carbon Neutral Program, an organization must undertake the following actions:
1.) Measure its carbon footprint
2.) Monitor and reduce emissions as much as possible
3.) Purchase and cancel sufficient eligible carbon offset units to offset the remaining emissions associated with the organisation or product
Technological trends in agriculture
An increase in digital tools
Digital agriculture is a promising way to optimize the work of a farm. As in other industries, digital transformation has made great strides in agriculture.
In practice, this presupposes an increase in data collection through the internet of things, i.e. sensors, machines and drones gathering real-time information, which is then stored and processed in the cloud. This ensures efficiency gains like labor cost reductions, observing and preparing for climatic conditions that interfere with production processes, and monitoring the spread of pests and diseases. Furthermore, predictive models supported by big data and artificial intelligence will enable forecasts of pest and disease outbreaks, recommendations for better seed placement in fields and selection of the best crop varieties, as well as determining the best time to bring products to the market.
More details here from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Agriculture continues to advance as a high-tech industry and robots are helping the industry meet additional demand. Agricultural robots are helping farmers automate repetive tasks like harvesting and picking, weed control, mowing, seeding, spraying, and thinning, as well as sorting, packing and phenotyping.
Because the demand for food is greater than farmland available, autonomous practices are helping farmers meet production yields. We anticipate this trend to continue into this year and beyond.
Looking for more information and insights into the agriculture indusry? Our Bazis Agro team is here to help. Learn more about Bazis Agro project design and our approach to research in this space.