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Farming 4.0 Is Here

February 1, 2021

What do the latest agricultural technology innovations mean for food production, the environment, CPG companies, and consumers?

Tomorrow’s grain rows, vegetable fields, and specialty crop groves will be much busier places than the relatively passive acreage of yesterday. On the surface, sensors built into crops will signal soil conditions; digital irrigation systems will precisely direct water streams; and robotic guardians will pull weeds. In the air above, satellites and drones will photograph plants with enough precision to count the spots on a ladybug’s wing. In the soil below, new wonders of botanical manipulation and digital information will optimize available nutrients, elevate plant performance, and store results.

Meanwhile, the entire expanse will serve as a “carbon sink,” with cover crops and conservation tillage offsetting some of the greenhouse gas emissions produced elsewhere on the property, while also anchoring against erosion. And in barns and pens, innovations in zoology and engineering will drastically reduce environmental impacts from livestock. These activities will add up to a robust symphony of enhanced agricultural production, as new approaches and technologies increase sustainability, boost yields, and improve crop quality.