The Future Challenges in Farming and How to Overcome themFarm Tender Sep 19, 2018
Studies indicate that the global population is set to reach around 9.7 billion by the year 2050. Population control is a major issue most countries are dealing with; even then the rise in population is natural and inevitable.
At the same time, natural resources such as water and land are dwindling, leaving lesser and lesser land free for farming.
However, the fact is that the entire world depends on agriculture and farming. Producing enough food to feed the rising population with limited resources is indeed a challenging task.
In order to secure the future of farming, a sea change in policy, technology and application is necessary. This will make farming sustainable despite the many challenges it faces today.
Challenges Faced by the Farming Sector
On a global scale, the primary challenge faced by the farming sector is, of course, the rise in population.
As the world economy shifts to tertiary industries with the help of technology, more and more cities are coming up in place of agricultural land. Villages and open areas are vanishing and swanky cities are coming up to house more and more people who are more interested in working out of offices rather than slogging at a farm.
With an open trade policy, agriculture is no longer a lucrative sector in many countries that rely more on imports rather than producing food. Farmers in such nations are naturally frustrated as they do not get the required support from the government.
In developing nations, agriculture is still labour-intensive with poor output both in terms of production and earnings. The biggest challenge these nations face is modernizing the industry and equipping it with better technology.
Climatic change is another major challenge the farming sector faces. Even with rising awareness, the pollution levels are on the rise. This is affecting the natural conditions such as soil and water. Naturally, this has a detrimental effect on farming and agriculture and has a direct impact on the production.
The use of machinery and chemicals is another challenge. In order to produce more food, agriculture is gradually becoming mechanized which may not always be good for the soil. Soil needs adequate time to replenish itself after each harvest.
However, with increasing mechanization and a dwindling income, farmers are trying to maximize the yield by aiming for multiple harvests in a year without an adequate gap in between.
The use of chemicals, insecticides and pesticides is another factor that is affecting the quality of soil and thereby the future of farming.
Overcoming the Challenges
In order to keep the world adequately fed, farmers must try and overcome these challenges while preserving the natural environment for the future generation. However, they can’t do it all on their own or by relying on the current farming practices.
The future of farming lies in making it more sustainable and environmentally safe while at the same time increasing the production to keep pace with the rising population.
Countries around the world have invested in research and development to address such issues. Scientists and researchers are working relentlessly on developing more technically advanced strategies to improve yield, preserve the soil without chemicals and the application of micro-sensing technology.
The future and sustenance of profitable farming depend on the use of high-tech devices and technology.
Trailer-mounted Microwave Generators
This is a revolutionary concept that can help farmers to remove weeds from extensive areas with the help of a trailer-mounted microwave generator.
Statistics indicate that farmers in Australia spend more than $4 billion on herbicides every year. Even then weeds stay back, being as hardy as they are. The trailer-mounted microwave generators have double the power of average microwaves.
They are positioned a few centimetres above the weeds and as the trailer moves along, the heat from the microwave just ‘cooks’ the weeds from within and they wilt away. The process is more effective and long-lasting as compared to herbicides and is environment-friendly too.
Drone Mounted Hyper-Spectral Sensors
This technology uses hyper-spectral sensors that are mounted over drones to keep an eye on the farmland and detect any early indication of an imminent disease. The idea is to detect even the tiniest change in the colour of the crops that may indicate the onset of disease.
Through this technology, farmers can actually know about crop infestations and take preventive measures to kill the pests before it’s too late.
Developing Disease-resistant Varieties of Crops
With regular use of pesticides over several decades, many pests have already developed resistance and these chemicals are no longer as effective.
The challenge is, therefore, to develop disease-resistant strains of crop that can combat such pests. Several varieties of crops have already been made disease-resistant but it is a continuous process.
As the pests become more and more resistant, scientists too are trying to develop hardier varieties of crops to make farming sustainable and profitable.
Using Micro-sensing Technology
Micro-sensing technology is particularly useful as it provides farmers with a range of information such as animal health, the condition of soil, when to irrigate and so on.
It also provides the topography of the entire land including the natural resources available, the temperature of the soil and the level of acidity. Through micro-sensing technology, farmers can also understand the weather patterns and be better prepared for weather conditions in the coming weeks or months.
Turning Farming into an Industry
The future of farming also depends on how well farming is converted into an industry. Small, family-owned farms can no longer be viable if they continue to use traditional farming practices instead of using modern gadgets and technology.
However, to make this cost-effective and viable, larger farms are required where such gadgets and technologies can be applied to their maximum potential.
The use of automation and technology might reduce direct employment on farms but in the long-run, make farming more profitable and viable without affecting the environment. This way, farmers can enjoy a better lifestyle instead of having to work hands-on in the hope of a better yield.
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