How Technology is Used in Farming

by Tom Lavecchia

Technology is now deep-rooted in virtually every aspect of modern-day agriculture. An increasing number of farms even in the developing nations are getting automated and data-driven. A majority of farmers now use wireless and GPS technology to monitor their crops and livestock. They’re taking advantage of technology even in farm data collection and analysis for optimum decision making.

Since the 60s, several nations have been able to achieve self-sufficiency in food grain production by using improved solutions like better quality of seeds, dynamic irrigation systems, fertilizers, and pesticides available at the time.

Today, farming technology is now at its peak. From the introduction of tractors to tillers, harvesters, air seeding technology, and others, technology has led to higher crop and animal yields and improved quality in food production around the world. The modern farmer can interpret and analyze scientific data using it to improve crop yields and to keep themselves up-to-date with the latest trends.

Here are some examples of how modern technology is used in farming to improve agriculture:

Monitoring and Controlling Robotic Systems Via GPS

There are tons of robotic machines available in the tech market for agricultural purposes and farmers are non the duller in their usage. The professionals behind stress that using the latest technology allows farmers to perform distinct operations away from the usual. Most of them are GPS- enabled and farmers can decide to steer their newly acquired farm equipment right from the comfort of their farm office.

It’s kind of cool to be a farmer with these tools. Farmers can also calibrate several pieces of equipment to run in the fields automatically and in turns. This facility reduces time and labor costs enabling farmers to multitask in the fields.

There are robotic irrigation systems also. A farmer only needs to do the watering right from his phone screen. Moisture sensors in the ground are able to communicate information about the level of moisture present at different depths in the soil.

Farm Ultrasound Technology

The ultrasound technology commonly associated with checking on baby animals in the womb also serves the function of analyzing meat quality in the animal before it is taken to the abattoir.  DNA testing helps animal raisers to identify animals with good qualities and other desirable traits. This information also helps the farmer to improve the quality of his herds.

Usage of Mobile Technology and Cameras

Mobile apps like ‘Foursquare’ are used by farmers to follow up on employee activities within and around the farm precinct. Cameras’ are also placed at strategic spots for surveillance.

Livestock managers also place cameras at their barn feedlots and pastures that send images back to the central location. This could be an office or home computer. They can easily check on their animals when they are away.

Crop Sensors

Crop sensors are special devices that sense how your crop feels. They help reduce leaching and runoff of water. They also help in applying fertilizers in a very effective manner

Where the farmer would still be mixing a prescription fertilizer and mapping the boundaries for a field before he goes out to apply it, crop sensors tell the fertilizer application equipment how much to apply in real-time. Optical sensors even have the ability to see how much fertilizer a plant needs based on the amount of light reflected back to it.


Since the time the Food and Drug Administration granted the first approval to FLAVR SAVR tomatoes that had been genetically engineered using biotechnology by the Calgene Industries, many companies like Monsanto and even the Calgenes are continuously developing crops that are genetically resistant to pests and weeds. Biotechnology is consistently providing higher crop yields for farmers.

Data Integration Technology

New software products from companies like SST are coming to the agricultural market to help agricultural professionals better manage the data and technology used on their farms. These software products provide systems that integrate data obtained from satellite imagery of crops, weather, equipment, and from sensors placed on crops on the farm. The data acquired is shared with other farmers and agricultural databases to help make accurate forecasts and make more calculated decisions in agricultural production.

RFID and Security Technologies

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an animal and farm security technology. It is used in tracking livestock, monitoring their health, and keeping a health history log of each animal on a daily basis just by wearing a tracking tag that is equipped with the RFID technology on the animal.

More technologies are still underway to complement the already existing ones. Clearly, there will be no end to agricultural development and in the near future, the problem of world hunger may just become a legendary tale. With the influx of more and more sophisticated technologies also, farmers will have easy access to disaster warnings and real-time farm information.

Photo by Tom Fisk

About the Author/s

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Tom is a lifelong New Jersey resident, Rutgers and FDU alumni and the publisher of The Digest.

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