How The Government Can Transform Agriculture With Data Science
The data science industry has grown exponentially, and big data is transforming every sector imaginable. In recent years, data science has emerged as a powerful tool that can be used to improve various aspects of agriculture.
The agriculture industry is a major economic driver in America, representing 1% of their GDP. The government plays an essential role in ensuring that the agricultural sector is booming. From increasing crop yields to reducing waste, data science can help the government transform agriculture and make it more efficient and productive. In this blog post, we'll look at ways data science can enhance agriculture by adapting intelligent technologies.
1. Improve Crop Yields
Irrigation support is one of the key ways that data science can help the government increase crop yields. Using sensors and data analytics, farmers can more accurately target watering their crops, leading to less water waste. Drones are also being used to gather information about crops, which helps farmers make more informed decisions about when to irrigate, what pesticides to use, and how to maximize yield.
In addition, data science can also be used to create better seeds. By analyzing data from previous years, farmers can develop seeds that are more resistant to specific pests and diseases. This data helps increase crop yields as crops are less likely to be lost to these pests and diseases.
2. Enhance Crop Quality
Identifying the genes expressed in various plant parts is one way that data science can assist in enhancing crop quality. This information can then be used to select plants with the desired characteristics for breeding or genetic modification.
Data science can also be used to predict how different environmental conditions will affect crop quality. The amount of nitrogen or water a plant will require depending on the situation can be predicted using data science. This information can then be used to ensure that crops get the right amount of nutrients and water at the right time, improving their quality and yield.
For example, farmers can use sensors and data analytics to track soil moisture, pH, and nutrient levels and then make adjustments to irrigation, fertilization, and pesticide use accordingly. By optimizing these factors, farmers can produce crops that are higher in quality and have a longer shelf life.
3. Reduce Wastage
With increasing climate change, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and intense. This is leading to an increase in crop losses across the country. According to estimates from the USDA, 90% of crop losses are due to extreme weather conditions.
Data analytics can predict weather patterns, which helps farmers plan for adverse conditions such as droughts or floods. Using this information, planting schedules can be changed to enable the production of crops that are more drought- and flood-resistant. Farmers can pre-treat their crops or take other preventative measures to minimize losses.
4. Create Early Warning Systems For Pests And Diseases
With access to high-powered cameras and sensors from drones, as well as onsite monitoring by agricultural teams using artificial intelligence, farmers can predict pest infestations before they happen.
Data science can help farmers manage pests by using machine learning algorithms to analyze large data sets. These algorithms can identify patterns that indicate when and where a pest infestation is likely to occur.
Additionally, new pesticides and fertilizers can be created using data science. By understanding which chemicals are most effective at combating specific pests and diseases, scientists can create new products that are more targeted and effective.
5. Forecast Demand
Data science can help track food prices and commodity trends worldwide. This would allow the government to predict shortages or surpluses of certain commodities and respond accordingly by buying or selling food stocks on the global market.
For example, the USA is the largest exporter of corn in the world, and it needs to keep up with production. Because of the ongoing demand, US farms continue producing corn to continue supplying other countries with this crop.
By analyzing data on past sales, weather patterns, and other factors, data scientists can create models that predict how much of a particular crop will be needed. This information can help farmers decide what to grow and when to sell their produce, maximizing profits while minimizing waste.
6. Artificial Intelligence Integration
AI is already used in agriculture to make farming more efficient and effective. Here are some ways it supports agriculture:
- AI can help enhance farming practices by identifying specific genes responsible for desirable traits, such as resistance to disease or pests. Once AI identifies these genetic makeups, it will be possible to use them in breeding new strains of crops with those desired characteristics - resulting in better-quality produce.
- With AI, farmers can monitor their crops and track their health in real-time. For example, sensors will detect signs of stress or disease, triggering an algorithm to recommend what action should be taken immediately.
- Farmers can incorporate AI-based surveillance systems to monitor their fields and be alerted of any real-time disruptions that may affect the crops. The use of these systems helps ensure everything is going according to plan. If any unusual activity occurs on a given property, an alert would be sent, giving them ample time to take the necessary action.
Tools like IBM’s "Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture," which uses machine learning algorithms to help farmers make better irrigation, planting, and maintenance decisions, are an example of the use of AI to enhance agriculture.
7. Identify Favorable Regions
40% of American land is used for agriculture. But not all parts of this land may be favorable for growing produce. Data science can assist farmers in maximizing yields and minimizing the land required to support agricultural production by identifying favorable regions for crops to grow.
For example, data science can be used to create 3D maps of fields to better plan production. Data scientists can assist farmers in maximizing their planting and harvesting schedules by thoroughly analyzing a field's size, shape, elevation, and other characteristics. Additionally, data analytics can monitor weather patterns, soil health, and other factors that impact farming operations.
8. Make Up For The Labor Shortage
The United States has the world's largest economy, but only 1.3% of Americans work in agriculture. This indicates that there aren't enough helping hands in agriculture, and farmers need all the help they can get.
Using drones, autonomous tractors, and robots can help address the ever-growing issue of labor shortages in agriculture. Some of the most common applications include:
- Automating tasks currently done by hand, such as weeding or harvesting crops.
- Developing sophisticated precision farming techniques that rely on machine guidance instead of human labor.
- Deploying autonomous vehicles to transport goods and materials around large farms.
- Providing more accurate data about which parts of a field are most fertile or need irrigation will allow for more efficient use of resources.
- Reducing the time needed to complete tasks such as planting or watering crops.
- Allowing farmers to manage multiple farms remotely.
Agriculture has always been a critical part of the economy, and with the help of data science, it can continue for years to come. The government can make crucial decisions that will benefit farmers and consumers by using data-driven methods to understand what crops are in demand, where they should be planted, and how pests and diseases can be prevented or treated. Are you ready to see how data science can revolutionize farming?