The agricultural transition and smart farming in the face of environmental challenges?

The agricultural sector is currently facing a major challenge. It must produce sufficient quantities to feed an ever-increasing world population, while reducing the environmental impact to preserve biodiversity (agroecology). Among the technologies and solutions that can help farmers meet such a challenge are smart farming and its sensors allowing the acquisition of multiple data.

What is the impact of agriculture on the environment?

Farm productivity has improved considerably in recent years. However, the methods and systems used have had a negative impact on the environment. Thus, in 2018, the High Council for the Climate had established that this activity accounted for 19% of GHG emissions globally. Three sectors are mainly concerned:

  • livestock (48%);
  • crops (41%);
  • the use of agricultural machinery (11%).

Meeting demographic and food security challenges while preserving the environment: a major objective for smart farming

The development of digital solutions and technologies around big data facilitate the use of artificial intelligence in the agricultural world. We now speak of smart farming. This technology simplifies daily monitoring and information sharing. It also contributes to decision making, notably by providing predictive analysis.

Intelligent agriculture involves various actors, starting of course with farmers and companies offering innovative services in this field. However, the importance of two other stakeholders should not be underestimated. Public authorities and consumers have an important role to play in the revolution that the agricultural sector is undertaking in the territories. With a clear legislative framework and relevant procurement, they can guide future decisions.

What are the solutions to the environmental challenges facing the agricultural sector?

While innovation continues to boost farm productivity, it can also help reduce its environmental impact. Among the solutions that have already demonstrated real effectiveness are :

  • Decision and investment support systems;
  • connected objects ;
  • sensors in the field ;
  • milking robots ;
  • photovoltaic panels;
  • connected weather stations ;
  • M2M SIM cards for data exchange.

Smart farming (or agriculture of the future) will also reduce energy needs and the costs of fertilizers and pesticides. It is then possible to modulate nutrient and water inputs according to various parameters such as yields, soil fertility, sowing density or weather conditions.

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