You probably know that Equipment Trader deals in construction equipment, but did you know that we’re also one of the largest online marketplaces for agricultural equipment?? It’s true! On our website, which has over 91,000 listings from hundreds of dealers and attracts hundreds of thousands of users every month, our #1 most popular item searched is the mighty tractor. We think that’s pretty cool, and it’s got us thinking about how agricultural equipment innovation is driving the industry into the future, so today we’re talking about how Digital Ag-Tech is Revolutionizing Agriculture!!
Forbes recently profiled how agriculture is spending billions (yes, with a “b”) developing agricultural technology, or AgTech, which is transforming the equipment we buy and sell at a rapid pace. Here are a few of the major trends emerging in digital AgTech:
– Data Integration & Analytics: Slowly but surely, we’re putting sensors on everything, from around the harvest fields to inside the tractors. This is helpful in the short-term, as our fields can tell us when they need more water and our tractors can tell us when they need to be serviced, all in real-time. But long-term is where the real money-saving and -making can happen. All those sensors will help us collect, integrate, and analyze data from every point possible, helping farmers and other ag pros discover hidden correlations and figure out ways to holistically maximize efficiency on the farm.
– Machine Learning: As data collection becomes more comprehensive, machine learning algorithms can begin to guide ag production, from forecasting which crop traits and genes are ideal for a geographic area to predicting market trends and consumer purchase patterns.
– Ag Drones: Drones are quickly evolving from a hobby to a major ag tool. Already farmers are using 3D drone mapping tech for initial field and soil analysis and using sensory and surveillance tech to monitor entire fields — or multiple fields — in real-time, identifying production inefficiencies, irrigation issues, and crop health. We’re also figuring out how to use drones to precisely plant and spray crops, which speeds up processes, boosts uptake rates, and decreases costs.
– Robotics: With an aging workforce, agriculture is an appealing industry for robotics developers who are creating tech that significantly improves productivity. The exact precision of direct targeting tech helps seeding, weeding, and spraying machines cover multiple rows of crops simultaneously while dramatically decreasing pesticide use. Laser, camera, and GPS navigation allows these robots to operate autonomously, even identifying and removing specific weeds. These machines are becoming so refined that soon they’ll be able to harvest fruits and nuts, products previously thought too small or delicate for robot farming.
– Product Tracking: Finally, product tracking — when products have digital data encoded in tags and labels — helps farmers and consumers alike track food from the field to the store. What’s great about product tracking is that people can check if food has come into contact with allergens or bacterial outbreaks. So next time there’s E. Coli in some romaine, the specific source can be tracked down so that all lettuce farmers don’t have to suffer from a recall or public panic.
The digital innovations that are transforming our personal lives are revolutionizing the agricultural industry as well. Developments in AgTech provide a fascinating look at the ag equipment we’ll be buying and selling one day in the future (though we imagine the good ol’ tractor will remain our top-performing ag product on EquipmentTrader.com for some time!!). Let us know what you think in the comments — are you excited about the new digital AgTech??