Robotics Has Revolutionized Agriculture

Robotics and automation have transformed the agriculture industry. The market for robots and
drones that perform agricultural tasks continues to expand rapidly. You may soon see a drone
herding cattle on a farm close to you.
Traditional farming techniques can barely keep up with the productivity the market expects.
Lack of human resources is a real issue, especially in developed nations. Automated agriculture
seeks to solve this and other problems.
The following are a few of the applications that automated farming has taken over.

Picking and Harvesting

While harvesting delicate foods such as lettuce may be difficult to automate, crops such as corn
and wheat pose no problem. Automated harvesting is not only faster but also a time saver.
Some of the harvesting tasks that are performed by a robot include the following:
● Sweet pepper picking
● Corn harvesting
● Apple picking
● Barley harvesting
● Grape picking

Herding and Shepherding of Livestock

If you are no longer able to find a herdsman for your animals, you need not worry. The use of
drones in herding and shepherding is gaining momentum. Drones have been used in countries
such as New Zealand to shepherd flocks of sheep over tough terrain.

Weeding and Spraying

Pesticides and weed killers can be harmful to humans if inhaled. In addition, they may not be
eco-friendly. Micro-spraying is a notion that could positively impact crop growing. It could
significantly decrease the quantity of insecticides and herbicides sprayed on plants.
A micro spraying robot is programmed to spot weeds and spray a specific quantity of herbicide
on them.

There are also weeding robots that are programmed to espy weeds and remove them. A
weeding bot is pushed by a tractor. It automatically hoes the area between crops to remove the
weeds therein.

Planting

Crop seeding has evolved over the centuries. Humans used to prepare the land for planting
using hoes and other digging implements. They would also use farm animals such as oxen then
walk behind them putting seed to ground.
Then the tractors came and planting got easier and faster. A broadcast spreader was attached
to the tractor. It broadcast seeds around as the tractor progressed steadily up the farm.
Automated seeding involves geomapping. A generated map provides details on the properties
of the soil on every inch of the farm. A robotic seeding attachment is attached to a tractor. The
robot places the seeds at exact points and depths that are bound to facilitate growth.

Nursery Automation

Nurseries are the starting point of a wide variety of plants. Nursery plants are sold directly to
consumers who then plant them in their gardens and farms.
A number of companies provide automation for nurseries. This automation targets areas such
as:
● Potting
● Seeding
● Warehousing plants in greenhouses

Fertilizing and Irrigating Crops

Traditional methods of irrigation and fertilizing use a lot of water. This is not only wasteful but
also quite uneconomical. Automation of these processes can assist in reducing the amount of
water used because robots are able to target individual crops.
Ground robots will pick out individual plants and irrigate them. They move between the crops
as opposed to contemporary irrigation which targets the entire crop.
Additionally, bots are able to gain access to areas other farming appliances cannot. For
instance, they are able to move between rows of fast-growing crops and feed fertilizer at the
base of every single plant.

Thinning and Pruning

Robots designed for thinning are programmed to detect plants that require thinning. The best
example is lettuce. The robot drives over the plants and makes a snap decision. It decides which
plants stay and which ones need to go.
Pruning has been most effective in wine ventures. A robot is let loose in a vineyard and it gets
to work pruning the grapevines. Eventually, there will be bots that will be able to prune
additional plants.

Conclusion

With automation, agriculture has never been so easy. Furthermore, production will go up,
wastage will go down and the environment will be grateful. Food production for the sustenance
of humankind should improve a great deal.