Smart farming, precision agriculture to achieve a more sustainable world (2023)

According to UN calculations,by 2050 there will be 9.7 billion people in the world,in other words around 2 billion more mouths to feed than in 2020. This increase, according to FAO — the UN food an agriculture agency —, needs to be met through a 70 % rise in agricultural production.

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The situation poses a serious challenge to the member states of the UN with regard to the2030 Agenda, and specificallySDG 2, which aims to end world hunger by ensuring access for all, especially the poor and vulnerable, including babies, to healthy, nutritious and sufficient food throughout the whole year. And all this without forgetting that in addition,the food industry is currently responsible for 30 % of the world's energy consumption and 22 % of greenhouse gas emissions.The challenge, therefore, is not just producing more food, but doing it sustainably.


Smart farming is about using the new technologies which have arisen at the dawn of theFourth Industrial Revolutionin the areas of agriculture and cattle productionto increase production quantity and quality, by making maximum use of resources and minimising the environmental impact.Also, the implementation of technology in agriculture and cattle production will make it possible to boostfood securitythroughout the world.

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Gracias a estas nuevas tecnologías, un terreno de cultivo puede fraccionarse en tantas parcelas como diferencias internas tenga dicho terreno:variaciones en la composición del sustrato, existencia de depresiones, propensión al estancamiento de agua, presencia de depredadores o grado de porosidad,entre otras características, y aplicar sobre cada parcela un tratamiento personalizado para sacarle el máximo rendimiento. Esto es lo que también se conoce como precision agriculture.


Among the technologies that are revolutionising the present, and that will define the future of agriculture, the most notable are:

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Smart farming, precision agriculture to achieve a more sustainable world (1) Drones

Dronessimplify supervision tasks for farms by being able tocover hundreds of acres in one flight,gathering, thanks to infrared technology, multispectral images and a wide variety of information about the condition of the land, irrigation needs, crop growth, the existence of pathogens, and, in the case of cattle, the number of animals, their weight and possible anomalies such as lameness or unusual movements.

Smart farming, precision agriculture to achieve a more sustainable world (2) IoT

TheInternet of Thingsmakes it possible tooptimise the monitoring of farms,mainly through smart sensors capable of measuring everything from solar radiation to leaf moisture and stem diameter, or the temperature of each animal in the case of livestock, making it easier to make all sorts of management decisions.

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Smart farming, precision agriculture to achieve a more sustainable world (3) Big data

Thanks to the ability ofbig datato analyse massive amounts of data, farmers can manage all the information obtained from drones, the Internet of Things and other measuring instruments andintegrate it both with historical information for the farm and with weather data,in order to optimise all stages of the production process.

Smart farming, precision agriculture to achieve a more sustainable world (4) Blockchain

Blockchainmakes it possible to monitor crops and cattle from growth until handover to suppliers,improving, for example, the traceability of the supply chain.By using this technology, if an imported vegetable poisons consumers the source of the outbreak can be easily traced and only the affected products withdrawn, instead of prohibiting imports of vegetables from the entire country of origin.

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Smart farming, precision agriculture to achieve a more sustainable world (5) Inteligencia artificial

In agriculture,artificial intelligenceandrobotisationare used mainly to interpret field images andapply fertilisers and pesticides with surgical precision, or for dealing with weeds.On a farm, for instance, it means that microphones can be used to identify squealing piglets that are being squashed by their mother, and a vibration can be sent to her through a sensor to make her get up.

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How is precision agriculture sustainable? ›

Precision agriculture leverages technologies to enhance sustainability through more efficient use of land, water, fuel, fertilizer and pesticides. Essentially, farmers who use precision agriculture technologies use less to grow more, reducing both cost and environmental impact.

What is smart precision agriculture? ›

Precision agriculture or Smart Farming means that plants (or animals) get precisely the treatment they need, determined with great accuracy thanks to the latest technology. A range of forms of technology are used to this end, including GPS, sensor technology, ICT and robotics.

Why are climate smart agricultural practices so critical to the sustainability of our land resources? ›

California's agricultural industry is at extreme risk to the impacts of climate change. Changes in temperatures, precipitation patterns, extreme weather events, and water availability all pose a threat to the viability of agricultural production.

What is the difference between precision farming and smart agriculture? ›

What differentiates smart farming from precision agriculture is that it does not focus on precise measurements. Instead, smart farming focuses on capturing data and interpreting them using computing technologies to make farm operations more predictable and efficient.

What is the benefits of precision agriculture? ›

Precision agriculture gives farmers the ability to more effectively use crop inputs including fertilizers, pesticides, tillage and irrigation water. More effective use of inputs means greater crop yield and(or) quality, without polluting the environment.

What is the importance of precision agriculture? ›

Precision agriculture (PA) is the science of improving crop yields and assisting management decisions using high technology sensor and analysis tools. PA is a new concept adopted throughout the world to increase production, reduce labor time, and ensure the effective management of fertilizers and irrigation processes.

What are the benefits of smart farming? ›

Smart farming helps farmers to better understand the important factors such as water, topography, aspect, vegetation and soil types. This allows farmers to determine the best uses of scarce resources within their production environment and manage these in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner.

What is the impact of smart farming in agriculture? ›

Reduced costs: automation of sowing, treatments and harvesting in the case of agriculture reduces the use of resources. Pest detection and animal health: early detection of infestations in crops or sickness in animals means that their impact on production can be minimised and animal welfare improved.

What is an example of smart farming? ›

Example technologies used in smart agriculture are: Precision irrigation and precise plant nutrition. Climate management and control in greenhouses. Sensors – for the soil, water, light, moisture, for temperature management.

Why sustainable agriculture is important in today's world? ›

Sustainable agricultural practices are intended to protect the environment, expand the Earth's natural resource base, and maintain and improve soil fertility. Based on a multi-pronged goal, sustainable agriculture seeks to: Increase profitable farm income. Promote environmental stewardship.

How does Smart Farming affect the environment? ›

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.

How is smart farming sustainable? ›

Smart farming promotes precision agriculture with modern, sophisticated technology and enables farmers to remotely monitor the plants. Smart farming helps agricultural processes, such as harvesting and crop yields, as the automation of sensors and machinery has made the farming workforce more efficient [16].

What are the three major impacts of precision farming? ›

The goal of precision agriculture is to increase efficiency and productivity, reduce input costs, and improve environmental sustainability.

Is smart farming the future of agriculture? ›

Therefore, smart farming has a real potential to deliver a more productive and sustainable form of agricultural production, based on a more precise and resource-efficient approach. New farms will finally realize the eternal dream of mankind. It'll feed our population, which may explode to 9.8 billion by 2050.

Which is the most important technique in precision farming? ›

The earliest, and most commonly used, precision ag technique is for variable rate applications of inputs. Variable rate technology (VRT) is installed on seeders, and fertilizers and is now being added to irrigation systems like center pivot systems.

What problems does precision agriculture solve? ›

Precision Agriculture is enabling more efficient application of inputs (seed, fertilizer), more effective utilization of tillage equipment, improved crop and field measurements, and better farm management decisions.

What are the needs of precision farming? ›

Precision farming includes accessing real-time data about the conditions of the crops, soil and ambient air, along with other relevant information such as hyper-local weather predictions, labor costs and equipment availability.

What is the conclusion of smart farming? ›

Thanks to remote access and basic access security, farmers can target their knowledge for a higher harvest. This closes the gap between quality and quantity. Faster action is possible through the use of advanced sensor technology and real-time data.

What are the challenges of smart farming? ›

The major challenges of smart agriculture include continuous monitoring, energy harvesting, automatic irrigation, and disease prediction (See Fig. 1) [14]. An important issue that arises in farming is the loss of crops to various diseases.

Is smart farming needed? ›

Similarly, using smart agriculture techniques, farmers can monitor better the needs of individual animals and adjust their nutrition correspondingly, thereby preventing disease and enhancing herd health. Knowledge and capital are essential for any innovation.

What is an example of precision farming? ›

Some examples of precision agriculture include drones, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and irrigation technologies. The goal of precision agriculture is to learn new management practices to increase the profitability of agriculture production. “The core of my research assists farmers to maximize their profitability.

What are the three main goals of sustainable agriculture? ›

Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals – environmental health, economic profitability, and social equity (Figure 1). A variety of philosophies, policies and practices have contributed to these goals, but a few common themes and principles weave through most definitions of sustainable agriculture.

How can sustainable agriculture help feed the world in 2050? ›

Reduce food loss and waste.

Loss and waste occurs all along the food chain, from field to fork. Reducing food loss and waste by 25 percent by 2050 would close the food gap by 12 percent, the land gap by 27 percent and the GHG mitigation gap by 15 percent.

What makes agriculture sustainable? ›

A sustainable agriculture must provide a fair and reasonably secure living for farm families. It should minimize harm to the natural environment. It should maintain basic natural resources such as healthy soil, clean water, and clean air.

What are the environmental benefits of precision agriculture adoption? ›

Precision agriculture benefits to the environment come from more targeted use of inputs that reduce losses from excess applications and from reduction of losses due to nutrient imbalances, weed escapes, insect damage, etc. Other benefits include a reduction in pesticide resistance development.

What makes agriculture more sustainable? ›

By adopting conservation practices, farmers can build rich, fertile soils that will grow robust crops while protecting water sources, storing carbon, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating fields that are more resilient to extreme weather events.

What makes sustainable agriculture sustainable? ›

Sustainable agricultural practices are intended to protect the environment, expand the Earth's natural resource base, and maintain and improve soil fertility. Based on a multi-pronged goal, sustainable agriculture seeks to: Increase profitable farm income. Promote environmental stewardship.

What are the three 3 main components of sustainable agriculture? ›

Summary. Sustainable agriculture is defined by three interactive components: economic profitability, environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

What are the benefits of sustainable agriculture on the environment? ›

In addition to preserving the earth's natural resources, sustainable agriculture benefits the environment through helping maintain soil quality, reducing erosion, and preserving water.

What are the 5 main components of sustainable agriculture? ›

5 key principles of sustainability for food and agriculture
  • Increase productivity, employment and value addition in food systems.
  • Protect and enhance natural resources.
  • Improve livelihoods and foster inclusive economic growth.
  • Enhance the resilience of people, communities and ecosystems.
  • Adapt governance to new challenges.

What can I do to support sustainable agriculture? ›

One of the big ways to achieve agricultural sustainability is to reduce our global reliance on pesticides and fertilizers and focus on natural processes that can be introduced to limit pest populations. An example of one of the components of sustainable agriculture is planting hedgerows along field edges.


1. Israel's Agriculture Changing Our World | AGRITECH Highlights | Insights on TBN Israel
(TBN Israel)
2. Can we create the "perfect" farm? - Brent Loken
3. Farmers in the Netherlands are growing more food using less resources | Pioneers for Our Planet
(World Economic Forum)
4. 3 Innovative Smart Farming (Vertical Farming) | Future of Farming ▶ 1
5. Precision Agriculture and Sustainable Solutions
(Center for Agriculture Strategy and Development)
6. Farm Forward | John Deere Innovation & Technology
(John Deere)
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