Agricultural Commodities Innovations
Four key innovations are driving the agriculture commodities space, and these are urban agriculture and vertical farming, drones, artificial intelligence and automation, and CRISPR and genetic editing.
We started the search by looking into agricultural commodities articles that had been published recently. We were able to find an article that addressed the five innovative agricultural practices or commodities that are changing the world. One of these is blockchain technology, and we decided to remove this from the current brief, as it would be specifically researched and reported upon in another brief.
We decided to research about each of the key innovations in the agricultural commodities space. We also looked into media articles, industry resources, and blog articles for other requisite information about the given topic. We were able to find the needed information through articles that talked about agriculture.
Five Innovative Agricultural Practices that are Changing the World
Urban Agriculture, Smart Design, and Vertical Farms
As space for agriculture is becoming more in need, various scientists have found a way to integrate farms in different locations such as deserts, mountainside towns, and cities. Farms that are found in urban areas or also known as urban farms could be quite similar to the traditional outdoor community garden, but they are also predicted to be complex in design and quite futuristic because they are designed to be regulated in contained pods with their own environmental systems. Additionally, 13 vertical farming innovations could help sustain the future of agriculture, and these are hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, lokal, aerofarms, platscrapers, verticrop, modular farms, cubic farming systems, zipgrow, bowery, skyfarm, and sky greens.
Vertical farming is a technique used to produce crops and plants through “factory-style situations.” It removes the natural need of soil and sunlight; instead, it uses innovative artificial lighting and “nutrient-driven” technologies. An example of this would be hydroponics. Hydroponics is the ability to grow crops without the use of soil, by planting plants in a solution of various nutrients. Aeroponics is a growing technique produced by NASA in the 1990s. The method can help grow plants without the need of soil and very little water. Aquaponics is the kind of agriculture farming that infuses both plant farming and fish farming together by using fish-waste as a precious nutrient for plants. Another vertical farming technique that does not use much soil or sunlight is Aerofarming. This process of aerofarming uses the technique known as the “Aeroponic system”, a kind of system that helps plants grow faster, with better and superior quality.
Lokal is a kind of farming that serves the local community, by serving them the plants that they grow. The community is part of the growing process in Lokal, giving the community members the ability to check the crops with the use of Google Homes. Moreover, Plantscraper is a kind of vertical farming technique that uses vertical greenhouses within cities to sustain crops. It is planned to integrate itself with various office buildings within cities. VertiCrop is another innovative technique that utilizes a conveyor system. The system could give each plant sufficient nutrient and sunlight it needs to grow.
Additionally, this kind of vertical farming technique could eventually be used in urban and metropolitan areas. Another technique that uses the conveyor method is cubic farming. Cubic farming uses the conveyor method, the automated nutrient delivery system, and LED lighting to sustain the needs for its plants. It is reported to use only 1/26th of the water that plants use in the traditional agricultural system.
The Modular Farm system gives plants the ability to grow anywhere. The system uses a similar system from the urban farm idea, with concentrations on both farmer ROI and plant health. It is known to be a good compliment for container farms. While the Zip Grow technique caters more towards rookie and amateur farmers. It uses a vertical plane growing technology and various futuristic technologies to take care of the plants, with very little need for output from farmers to survive.
Bowery is an “indoor farming company” that is producing the vertical technique known as “Bowery farming.” This kind of farming is estimated to produce thirty more times than agricultural farming. It could also produce a hundred different kinds of plants and herbs. The farming technique uses the company’s BoweryOS to grow the plants automatically, and once again, automating the procedures needed for agriculture farming.
Skyfarm is another farming technique that caters to areas with high-urban density areas with very little space for farming. The technique relies on various existing vertical farming techniques such as aquaponics and traditional-soil planting techniques. Skyfarm aims to integrate these farming techniques within a hyperboloid tower made of bamboo. This tower helps maximize the crops’ exposure to the sun while also helping the growth of other agriculture commodities such as fish. This vertical farming technique is aimed to be a part of urban populations.
Sky Greens is a Singapore-based farming company that is also revolutionizing vertical farming with its use of its first “low-carbon hydraulic driven farm.” The hydraulic farm uses a conveyor system, moving plants from one place to another, giving each one the appropriate water and sunlight it needs to grow. It is predicted to produce ten times more crops than traditional farming methods.
Drones and Bees
There are five ways that drones could change the future of agriculture, and these are through crop assessment, counting cattle, monitoring for disease, water watch, and mechanical pollinators.
Drones are now being programmed to count for stock and watching out for plants that may require more nitrogen or oxygen. They are also being programmed to count for cattle, giving cattle ranchers an accurate number of their livestock and showing fences that need some fixing. Additionally, drones are being programmed to also look out for disease, by using air sampling to provide alerts to farmers about specific pathogens and their arrival. Drones are also being equipped with laser scanning technologies to help farmers assess the topography of their land, showing areas that are storing water. Lastly, drones can now function as bees in the near future. Technology has now given them a chance to pollinate various areas of a farm. A New York-based start-up has reported that drones have helped increased its pollination rates from 25% to 65%.
Artificial Intelligence, IOT, and Automation
Artificial Intelligence can now be seen in all forms of modern agriculture, like vertical farming. AI is also seen to improve traditional farming tools such as the grain cart tractor, making them more automated while maximizing its efficiency and capacity. There is also the growth of precision agriculture or also known as “smart farming” or “precision farming”. This kind of farming uses remote sensing, IoT devices, robotics, big data analytics, and AI to create a technology-based “high-resolution crop production system.”
CRISPR and Genetic Editing
CRISPR is now being used to improve livestock in agriculture. The technology has been specifically used to change cow microbiomes. This is to help decrease their consumption of food without affecting their health and physical stature. CRISPR is helping the meat industry to be “more efficient and more profitable.” It is also helping the environment by decreasing the methane production of cows.
Gene editing is also helping to improve existing crop sustainability methods. It still follows the tracks of past plant breeding methods, but this time with greater precision and efficiency. An example of this would be creating plants with more vitamin A in regions of the world experiencing micronutrient deficiencies. Additionally, gene editing is also helping to produce more productive and healthier livestock while preventing disease.