By the year 2050, the world’s population is expected to hit 10 billion. Feeding that population will mean increasing global food production by 70 percent — without poisoning the world’s water supply with nitrates in the process and meeting rising demands for high food quality.
That, in a nutshell, is the reason why agriculture needs to go digital, and in a hurry. The good news is that the adoption of new agriculture technology (agtech) over the past decade has been strong in many places. According to a 2016 study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, tractors guided by Global Positioning System (GPS) are in use on 50 percent of corn and soybean acreage in the U.S. Yield mapping — which means developing precise data on what sections of a field produce the biggest yield — is used on 40 percent of that acreage. Variable-Rate Technology (VRT) covers about 30 percent with systems that apply fertilizer based on yield maps, substantially reducing waste and excess use.