Global Farming Trends
Five trends that are impacting the future of commercial agriculture are hyper-precision farming, digital livestock, plant-based protein, supply-chain traceability and regenerative agriculture.
- Hyper-precision farming is an extension of the current trend of precision farming. In hyper-precision farming, data is collected down to the exact plant, as opposed to field, and resource levels are specifically applied per plant.
- Grand view research predicts that by 2025, the global market for precision ag, and hyper-precision ag, will be $10 billion.
- This will allow farmers to maximize resource allocation on the seed-by-seed basis, allowing for "every single seed planted at its optimum depth, how much water does the plant really need and what inputs does it absolutely need and still increase yield."
- Experts also predict that this will spur a large level of innovation and new technology products in the commercial agriculture sector.
- Livestock farming is becoming more digital as well, with innovations like robotic milking machines, facial recognition for animal herds, and gene-edited livestock.
- Facial recognition for animals can help farmers keep better track of larger herds. The technology will be able to identify a sick animal quickly, and farmers will be able to use the data to prove animals are not under stress and have been treated humanly, which consumers are demanding.
- Other precision-livestock technologies include "E-tags, which clip on a cow’s ear and constantly measure body temperature, [and] Bluetooth-enabled sweat monitoring strips that can measure levels of sodium, potassium, and glucose in the animal." These technological advances will not only help the farmers, but will provide a higher quality of life for the animals, since their health and nutrition will be better managed with these devices.
- The precision livestock market is expected to see massive growth in the coming years, growing from USD 3.0 billion in 2019 to USD 4.6 billion by 2024.
- The plant protein market, used to make meat substitute products, is expected to see major growth in coming years, from $18.5 billion in 2019 to $40 billion by 2025. Experts predict plant-based protein to grow by 15-20% in 2020.
- This has both positive and negative implications for the agricultural sector. Farmers growing peas (especially yellow peas), wheat, and soy could see the demand for their crops grow due to the demand from plant-based protein companies. However, for livestock producers, plant-based meat substitutes could detract from their market share.
- There has been increasing demand for supply-chain traceability, both for food safety and for consumers.
- Experts state: "Consumers are demanding greater transparency about where their food comes from and how it is produced and are seeking out producers who are using technologies such as blockchain, IoT and smart labeling to provide this level of detail."
- The blockchain in agriculture market is increasing at a CAGR of 47.8% from USD $41.2 million in 2017 to USD $429.7 million by 2023.
- Regenerative agriculture has been cited as a trend in agriculture beginning in 2020; it is the evolution of sustainable farming. Regenerative agriculture is agriculture that "seek[s] to add to the soil through a self-nourishing ecological system that benefits the environment in the process. A closed-loop system that doesn’t halt humans’ impact on the environment, but reverses it." The goal of regenerative agriculture is to repair the soil from years of conventional, industrial agriculture.
- Regenerative agriculture has been called a "major investment opportunity". As of 2019, $47.5 billion had been invested in regenerative agriculture, and 67 distinct additional investment opportunities had been identified by experts.
Trends were determined based on their mention by multiple experts and the availability of data illustrating the impact.