With robotics, computers and advanced genetics, researchers at the UC Davis and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have established a core set of genes that help plants metabolize nitrogen, the key to plant growth and crop yield.
Robots will move along fields either spraying herbicides through a pen-like nozzle or pulling weeds as soon as 2019 after their makers perfect programming them to distinguish weeds from crops like tomatoes.
At UC Davis, a team of professors have kicked off the Smart Farm Initiative. Lead by biological and agricultural engineering professor David Slaughter, the initiative strives to utilize and progress technology in agriculture to increase productivity and transform farm work to a STEM-based industry.
There are more humans alive on Earth right now than ever before—7.3 billion—and that number is still growing, with UN projections that it will reach 9.7 billion by 2050. A population of this magnitude brings a lot of challenges, food production chief among them.
Thanks to technology, the farm of the future produces more food, measured by inputs of land, labor, energy or materials than ever before and does so with less water and less impact on the environment and climate.