There have been many advancements in the history of farming from the birth of agriculture to the Agricultural revolution. The traditional ways of farming are undergoing a revolution that has been fuelled by new farming practices.
Cereal yields in East Asia increased by 300% between the years of 1961 and 2004 for example, and this was only made possible by contemporary technology from the first farming revolution such as irrigation, fertilisers, and the development of new species and varieties of crops that are more productive. But this is not enough for the future.
Efficiency levels are dropping. Yield increases are decreasing. And the population has not stopped growing. By the year 2050, 70% more food will need to be produced while using fewer resources, pesticides, and energy, in order to stop climate change.
The farming techniques of the future must be able to deal with the increase in population and maximise resources. New methods must be created while the old ones are made more and more efficient.
In this article, we hope to enlighten you on what the near future holds in store - all the newest trends and technologies that will change the face of farming.
Professor Dickson Despommier, an expert in the topic of vertical farming, created the formal definition of this cutting-edge technology. Vertical farming, according to him, is a way of producing crops “typically without soil or light, in beds stacked vertically in a controlled-environment building.”
Vertical farming, among many others, is one possible way of producing food for the masses in a sustainable manner. It is normally thought of within an urban context, and it generally uses methods such as hydroponic and aeroponic farming, as well as traditional soil farming.
One advantage of vertical farming is that is not vulnerable to external environmental factors such as weather and changes in season. Food can be produced year-round and is locally grown so the produce can stay fresher longer.
Insect feed is a somewhat futuristic option for the future of farming and food but it may be one that we seriously need to consider. Growing insects as opposed to raising traditional livestock such as cows mean vastly fewer resources are used.
There is a big and bright future in the pet food sector, and it is a major area where it might have a significant impact. A quarter of the impact of meat production comes from pet food!
Because of the increased emphasis on sustainability and the pressing need for alternate food sources, insects will become more prevalent in all of our meals. Insects have the potential for even more applications.
Aquaculture is the controlled cultivation of aquatic creatures for human consumption. It's similar to agriculture, but instead of plants or livestock, it's fish. Aquaculture is sometimes known as fish farming. Using insects as a substitute for fishmeal and feedstock is a way they can be used. While the amino acid profile can be considered to be more well-balanced compared to fishmeal (and also highly digestible), it commands much lower prices in the market which are up to 75% to 80% less.
The future of farming is becoming more sophisticated without a doubt. Applications for automation and robotics are being found in countless industries and the agricultural sector is no exception to this.
Robots can be a lot more effective than humans in repetitive tasks that can be automated, and there are a lot of these on the typical farm. They have the potential to be responsible for essential areas within farming such as seeding, harvesting and crop care (fertilising, irrigation and weeding).
Labour is over 50% of the cost to grow a farm and 55% of farmers say they are impacted by labour shortages. The biggest advantage of automation and robotic technology within farming is the large potential for reducing labour costs and inefficiency.
GM and Artificial Food
Breeding techniques have been used since time immemorial in order to create better, sturdier, tastier crops. Traditional techniques were used to create drought-resistant wheat for example. But these traditional techniques are not quite enough to cut it for the future to avoid the problem of diminishing returns. Genetic engineering. Is it the future?
CRISPR technology is a simple yet effective method for genome editing. It enables scientists to readily change DNA sequences and gene function. Correcting genetic abnormalities, curing and controlling the spread of diseases, and improving crops are just a few of its many potential applications.
This technique can be used to propagate crops with necessary vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, as well as generate breeds with enhanced yields and resilience to harsh environments. CRISPR is used in the development of genetically modified animal foods.
3D printing which has found importance in the manufacturing industry has also started to be used for the production of food. 3D printed food is still in its early stages, and there is still a long way to go before it is widely adopted by experts and consumers.
the most common process for 3D printing food is material extrusion is by far and requires paste-like inputs like purées, mousses, and other viscous foods such as chocolate ganache. This may seem limiting in terms of the foods it is capable of creating, but the number of foods it can create are many if you use imagination.
The most promising but also demanding way this technology can be used is in the area of meat substitutes.
By no means are drones a new invention or technology. However, thanks to new investments and innovative new applications, their time on the bleeding edge of agriculture may be here and they may be here to stay.
Their flexibility and versatility mean they can be applied to a wide range of areas and tasks important in farming. Their possible uses are in solid and field analysis, planting, crop spraying and monitoring. The biggest obstacle in this field right now is the sensors that are not yet capable of the quality of data needed to make them invaluable, and the advanced software needed.
The new advancements and innovations in farming and food technology are not only in food production but also in the packaging used to transport food all over the world. 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are in the ocean. 8 million tons is dumped into the ocean every year. A large part of that is plastic food packaging and containers. At the demand of consumers and customers, companies are being pressured to use eco-friendly and bio-degradable alternatives to current typical containers.
Bioplastic refers to plastic made from plant or other biological material instead of petroleum. By using bioplastics, when packaging is inevitable chucked away, it leaves no harmful residue that cannot biodegrade in the environment.