People today are getting increasingly antsy about AI, and it’s not hard to see why. The idea that a machine can surpass you in every conceivable way is terrifying. However, we are not here to discuss the robot uprising. We are here to consider the potential advantages in the application of machine learning in agriculture.
This is a great opportunity for smartphones, as they are becoming more and more popular in developing countries. Mobile phones are already influencing African agriculture. So, the change is coming, and it would be good to adapt relatively quickly.
Variety of Crops
Farmers and scientists are always trying their best in coming up with new varieties of existing crops. Why? Well, there are plants that have rich yield but are weak against the elements. Combine them with a crop that is the opposite of that, and, if you are clever and lucky, you’ll come up with great output that can handle anything Mother Nature dishes out.
This is where machine learning comes in handy, as machines can analyze the data from previous experiments of this nature and improve them drastically. Even if the first couple of experiments don’t go your way, the machines will almost certainly come up with a winning combination, much more likely than a person.
Ah, yes. They’re the plague of the crops and our farms, and many a harvest failed because a few plants got infected. It’s not always easy to notice the culprits before it’s too late, and the whole crop goes to heck. With machine learning, farmers will be able to take pictures of the plants and upload them to the cloud. Then, they can get accurate info regarding the likelihood of the crop falling ill.
Imagine a machine doing the harvesting, or cleaning the produce. There would be little to no input on your part – the machines will know very well what goes where, what needs to be sold, and what needs to be processed first.
They will also weed out any abnormalities, so the farms will losing some manpower, but they will certainly make up for it in efficiency.
You know how you would look at meteorologists and the weather people and think: “They have no idea what they are talking about”. Machines will analyze the data of the weather patterns and alert you any time there’s a natural disaster, or how to adjust your actions.
With this precious info, you will know how much money and time to invest in a certain area, without wasting any of your energy. And if you’ve ever been on the farm, you know how fickle the weather can be.
Instead of thinking of machines as something that’s taking away your work, think of them as the ultimate farmhand, someone with the best advice and the most info about what’s happening on your farm.
Soil analysis is just one of machine learning applications you can get behind, as they’ll tell you which crops are most likely to bring a plentiful harvest, and which crops you should not bother with since there is little to no point. While knowledgeable farmers already have a feel for this, machines are more precise, and it will be of immense help to farm rookies.