Future of Farming

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The critical determinant of production is the quality of farm management that combines available resources to deliver products that meet demand.

Efforts to increase productivity were exerted on farmers; on the resources they apply and on how they combine inputs to come up with the best outputs. In short, the challenge is for farmers to select those enterprises most suited to their circumstances, to manage them efficiently and to trade their outputs to best advantage.

Whether the farmer is conducting an industrial farming or a small business, independent farmer, or normal agriculture, it is all about per-acre production that makes or breaks the year.

The inventor David Dourhout has already built working prototypes of six-legged robots that communicate wirelessly and talk with each other as they study and investigate the ground area to be planted.

Dourhout said that robots can make very precise decisions about where and when to plant seeds based on different kinds of soil type within the same field.

This new system will be developed in four phases: Planter, Tender, Harvester and last phase is an integration of the previous three phases into one autonomous intelligent robot that can operate in all seasons and perform any tasks to increase the productivity.

Prospero is a working prototype of the first phase which studies the farm and determines where and which seed to plant.

First, they check the ground below to see if the seeds were planted before, and that the seeds properly achieved the optimum place in the ground. Then, they communicate wirelessly with each other so as to move to another place to place the seeds. The nearest Prospero will plant the seed at the optimal depth and then mark the seeds location and apply whatever needed type of fertilizers.

After that, they communicate again to optimize the planting efficiency letting the others know if they need help in planting the seeds.

Since a video of these robo-planters spread via YouTube, Dourhout gained interest from farmers in many countries. The next step is scaling up the robots, and as with all autonomous devices, pushing battery power to extend their daily lifespan in order to take the advantage of temperature and soil conditions.

Dourhout believes he can build a larger robot that will work on a hybrid gas/electric generator so as to recharge its batteries.

References

gizmodo.com.au
popsci.com
youtube.com
news.discovery.com

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