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On the Farm

What’s New in Farming Technology?

If you’ve had your hand on the pulse of agricultural technology lately, you may find that things are changing fast.  Today’s farmers are able to better understand the work that needs to be done to optimize yields and boost their bottom line. But with so much happening all at once, it can be hard to know how to invest.

Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled drones gather soil moisture data from hundreds of acres in just a few hours. Then, farmers are using predictive analytics software to help forecast which parcels of acreage will need additional fertilizer or more watering. There’s a lot going on today to help farmers make the most of their land. These new technologies are changing the farming industry with smarter supply chain tracking systems and deep learning tools that help farmers make critical farming decisions.

AI in Agriculture Markets

From delivering new ways to explore the topography of your acreage with drones to managing inventories with blockchain controls, AI is shifting how farmers are operating. Here’s a look at some of the latest data-driven innovations that benefit agribusiness that help farmers turn a bigger profit.

AeroVironment’s drones are changing the farming landscape

AeroVironment has made a Complete Drone Package system that’s intuitive to use. And it can inventory vast parcels of acreage quickly on several key levels. Capable of covering 400 acres in just 45 minutes, these drones capture high quality images through their QuickLook computer vision-mapping technology. And the tech will compare historical maps to current ones — getting farmers the data they need to keep their crops thriving.

IBM introduces artificial intelligence to precision agriculture

IBM’s Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture offers farmers a wealth of weather and crop-related data. Like an electronic medical record, their electronic field record delivers weather data — both historic and near-real-time. Moisture data in soil is available at multiple depths as well. These AI technologies — combined with planting details, fertilizer application, pesticide schedules — produce an accurate seedling-to-harvest output report.

Satellite and drone imagery can even be overlaid atop this dataset and that’s where IBM’s AI machine learning comes into play. Offering strategies based on these findings, farmers can use IBM’s AI decision-making power to drive critical crop-production plans.

Blockchain opens up grain sales markets

Because farmers often lack bargaining power when it comes time to sell their grain, they’ve had to settle for a going rate. But that’s changing too. Blockchain can open your grain harvest to a wider array of local, regional and even global buyers. Groups like AgriDigital and GrainChain have redefined the grain-selling market, and farmers are taking notice with increased profits.

Drones inventory crop losses

When hail strikes your fields, it can be hard to estimate how much of your crop’s been destroyed. Farmers are now able to let drones monitor crops and compare pre- and post-hail data to pinpoint areas that suffered severe damage. This data can easily be sent to your insurance group to help expedite the claims process.

GPS and automatic steering (autosteer) tractors

Autosteering tech paired with GPS reduces overlap and makes banding fertilizer and strip-tilling more accurate. This gives you both time-saving value and helps you make the most of your chemicals. Fully autonomous self-driving tractors are on the horizon and it's where this tech is heading.

Blue River Technology drives precision agriculture

Partnering with John Deere, Blue River Technology continues to develop new implements that weed, seed and spray with camera-mounted machines. Accurately able to make real-time and AI-driven decisions, their tech has really improved how farmers manage pests, crops and invasives.

Agribusiness AI Can Boost Production

As digital technologies make their way onto the farm, new ways to manage crops and livestock are getting farmers and ranchers key details on their crops and inventory. The following are loaded with great forward-looking tech that can increase yields and lift margins to new levels.

Irrigation control apps

The Internet of Things has found its way into the field. Now, farmers can review how their hydration systems are operating in real-time. With details on current irrigator position and information on water flow, they’re able to get water to the areas of their fields that really need it with tools like CropX and CropWater.

Wirelessly connected to soil moisture-sensing devices, farmers get alerts on their smartphone when an area’s saturated. From there, they can quickly tweak their irrigation schedule to prevent overwatering.


Bovcontrol is a technology start up that uses cloud-based data to track cattle. From managing inventory to fine-tuning nutritional needs to retaining genetics and medical histories, ranchers have all the data they need to keep their livestock flourishing.

Nitrogen modeling delivers in-field nutrient data

Because fertilizer is a big seller — and a major agribusiness expense — getting the right amount of nitrogen into your soil is essential. That’s never been easier, thanks to products like Adapt-N and Climate FieldView. These products monitor and measure the impact of your agronomic decisions and manage field nitrogen variation by delivering custom fertilization and seeding plans.

Trace genomics

Having the right blend of microbes on your acreage can help make the most of your harvest. The goal is to create an affordable way to detect hundreds of pathogens and beneficial microbes with strain-specific identification tools and soil-based DNA testing. Farmers can then accurately treat their soil and better manage soil flora to boost production.

Artificial intelligence in agriculture gives farmers a truly customizable plan for their operation. American Family Insurance is rooted in farming — growing with you for nearly 90 years. And our agents are trained to help you make the most of your insurance dollars.

Be sure to connect with your agent to ensure you’ve got the farm and ranch coverage you need. And remember to inventory all new farm equipment you want to protect. You’ll find real peace of mind knowing that your investments are carefully insured.

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Related Topics: Farm Safety , Farm Insurance