Farm Tender

Ag Tech Sunday - Machine learning to identify individual plants

Key Points

  • Five years after acquiring the technology, Deere’s method of using machine vision and machine learning to identify individual plants will be tested on farms in summer 2021.
  • The goal: Farm machines moving at up to 20 miles per hour make decisions on spraying of herbicides at the level of individual plants and weeds in seconds, reducing the need for widespread use of chemicals.
  • The AI effort is one of many technology projects associated with precision agricultural taking farming into the 21st century and changing the nature of work in rural America.

If it comes as a surprise that a recent government auction of 5G broadband licenses was won by agricultural giant Deere & Co. rather than AT&T or another telecom stalwart, maybe it shouldn’t. Farming — which over thousands of years evolved from humans pulling plows to chemical and most recently its genetic era — is entering its digital age. Also referred to as precision agriculture, the changes being wrought by collection and analysis of data, on life and work in rural areas, are set to accelerate.

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