Artificial intelligence is the development of digital computer or controlled robots to perform tasks and also to equip and programme them with the intellectual processes of activities of human beings such as sourcing for information, providing information and also getting things done. Artificial intelligence is developing systems that could perform the activities of men in much better, faster and less stressful ways.
In recent times, artificial intelligence has been used as a tool in precision agriculture. Precision agriculture is the use of information technology on farm to improve farm practices, ensure proper monitoring of plants and animals, and to detect the requirements of crops and livestock.
One of the applications of artificial intelligence in agriculture is the use of sensors and microchips on plants and animals on the farm. These sensors and microchips, when inserted into crops, could detect the amount of fertilizer, the water it needs, other nutritional requirements needed for the growth of the crops. It could detect symptoms of infections in plants and transit these identified signs to a farmer’s computer so that actions can be taken.
In developing countries, these gadgets could also notify farmers of the ideal time to harvest produce. For instance, Wish Farm which is a strawberry farm that has existed since 1922 in Florida now uses drones to detect harvest time for strawberries. The invention came to them at a time when the farm noticed a massive decline in its workforce, reducing the harvest rate of the farm. In a bid to solve that, they developed a robotic picker which is able to look at a strawberry plant and determine which among the berries on the plant is ripe, all through artificial intelligence. Now, they have 50-100 different images that tell the stage of ripening of strawberries. It could also take records of data on farm, monitors the soil in order to determine its suitability for planting. With the help of sensors and microchips also farmers could know the temperature, humidity and weather conditions on their farm.
A drone is a piece of artificial Intelligence equipment, which is used to cover a large expanse of farmland to capture videos and images of the state of the farm and this is far much faster than the farmer going round the farm himself. Drones can also be used to water farmland through the process of irrigation. A certain tool known as agro drip-fogger is also used for irrigation in a greenhouse.
More so, Artificial intelligence can also be used to provide advice and also used to recommend solutions to farm problems. The use of robots in agriculture could make work easier by helping farmers to plant seed, clear farm environment, as well as control weeds on the farm. Majorly robots are used in harvesting, they could pick ripe fruit and also do pruning of some plants. In livestock production, robots are used as well, they could be used for shepherding of livestock animals and in the extraction of milk from the farm animals.
Although AI can be quite pricey with prices for complete, ready-to-fly agricultural drone systems ranging from $1,500 to well over $25,000. The role of artificial intelligence cannot be underestimated in agriculture because it does a faster and easier job than human power. Artificial intelligence allows carrying out of farm management practices at a higher rate compared to manpower. They are more efficient thereby increasing the rate at which food is produced.