Why Use Green Technology in Agriculture

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Agriculture is one of the most significant contributors to environmental degradation. The production, transportation, and consumption of food are very carbon-intensive, and it produces vast amounts of fossil fuels that end up in our atmosphere, accelerating global warming. With population numbers rising and living standards increasing, it has become more critical than ever to focus on green technology available in agriculture.

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So, what are some of the leading green technologies in agriculture today? The leading green technologies and techniques that help make farming more environmentally sustainable are renewable energy, zero tillage, biotechnology, organic agriculture, vertical farming, irrigation, integrated pest management, drones, fleet management, agricultural robots, and digital sensors. 

Here, we try to dig deep into these green technologies to see which ones have the most promise of creating a healthier planet. 

What is Green Technology?

Green technology works to reduce the negative impacts of humans on the environment. When implemented correctly, they will support the human population on Earth and give future generations successful agricultural methods. Green technology is vital for agriculture because they reduce environmental damage, produce less fossil fuel as by-products, and aid in sustainable agricultural development. These are the prime reasons for calling them clean technology,

You may be familiar with some of these technologies. Here, we will elaborate on each technology, outlining what it is and how it will benefit the agricultural industry to become more sustainable. 

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is essential for sustainable agriculture.  A renewable resource is a natural resource that can refill itself to replace what has been consumed. The renewable resource cannot run out. 

Most of the agricultural machinery currently runs on fossil fuels, releasing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and contributing to climate change. 

We could mitigate this environmental damage if we use renewable energy sources and related technologies. Since people can harvest these natural resources forever, renewable energy and agriculture are a great combination. These can give farmers a long-term source of income. 

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Here, we have listed some of the most commonly used renewable energy sources in agriculture.

  • Solar technologies are very versatile for agricultural usage. It works by converting solar light radiation into electrical energy. Farmers can use the electricity generated from the sun for running farm machinery, lighting, and water pumping.
  • Solar thermal technologies are another green technology that is becoming more favored. It works by converting solar heat radiation into heat energy. Some of the common uses are for water heating, underground soil heating, and solar greenhouses. 
  • Wind turbines are a popular choice for farmers because they don’t use up much land. Farmers can use them for pumping water for irrigation.
  • Biomass is derived from biological organisms such as plants, animal waste, and corn. This material is then converted into energy by burning. The heat is used directly for heating buildings, drying crops, and dairy operations. Additionally, it is also be used for producing steam and generating electricity.

Using renewable energy and related technologies in agriculture will make the industry more sustainable and help food security. One of the most significant changes that the agricultural sector can covert is to create a low-carbon, energy secure future. 

Zero Tillage

Zero tillage, also known as no-till farming, is a method that eliminates the need to plow the soil or the usage of any heavy farm machinery. Since the soil is not disturbed as with traditional farming methods, fewer greenhouse gases are released from the ground. Consequently, there is less soil erosion and runoff.

Additionally, zero tillage also improves the rate of soil carbon sequestration, which is the amount of carbon the soil absorbs and stores. It also utilizes crop residue left on the soil surface from the previous crop. 

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Subsequently, this method helps in reducing the number of greenhouse gases entering our atmosphere, simultaneously cutting costs for farmers. This method has shown that it has both environmental and economic benefits and is crucial because people can implement it worldwide. 

Zero tillage does not require a lot of investment before seeing results. Educating farmers on this practice can be a massive step towards making the agricultural sector more sustainable. No-till farming takes into account the vast global food demand. People first used this technology to save water and soil, but the added benefits of reducing greenhouse gases can benefit the planet. 

Biotechnology

Biotechnology is used to change the crop’s DNA in a way that does not occur naturally. The ability to develop plants with specific trails is a powerful technology with many benefits to humans. The benefits include helping to fight climate change. Biotechnology reduces the effects of climate change by using genetically modified stress-tolerant and high-yielding crops. 

GMO’s also require fewer pesticides and they need to be plowed less frequently. Biotechnology can be a reliable answer to mitigate climate change. These modified crops have already shown a reduction in greenhouses gases that they produce compared to regular crops. 

Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is the method of growing crops in vertically stacked layers instead of traditional horizontal farming. Therefore, the farmers can grow significantly more food on the same amount of land. 

Vertical farming can be a sustainable urban farming method, providing environmental, economic, and social benefits. Farmers achieve an increased yield. Moreover, there is reduction in water and fertilizer wastage. This new technology can cut water consumption by as much as 95%! 

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Since the crops are in a controlled climate, there is less requirement for pesticides and fertilizers as pests and diseases are minimal. However, the massive benefit is that vertical farms can be located anywhere, especially in urban populated areas to meet food demands locally. 

The local production and harvesting of crops dramatically reduce ‘food miles,’ positively impacting travel costs and carbon footprint. This green technology is popular in urban areas and countries with limited free land. Although yields benefit, however, the energy consumption for vertical farms is much higher than traditional farms. 

Irrigation Monitoring

Irrigation is the supply of water to crops and an essential part of the agricultural process and not something you can withhold. In the absence of enough water, the crop will not produce a healthy yield.  However, you can use the water supply as sensibly and efficiently as possible with the right technology. 

Earth’s water supply is finite; thus, we have a limited amount. Therefore, saving water is essential to keep the environment healthy. 

Today we have wireless and remote monitoring systems that help farmers gain better control of their operations. It allows more intelligent decision-making about water usage and distribution. This can be particularly helpful in huge farms with a lot of land area to look after. 

Drones

Drones have become instrumental in the agricultural sector as a green technology to improve sustainability and help the fight against climate change. It improves precision farming. It removes the erases the need for guesswork and assists farmers to become more efficient, and therefore more sustainable, with their work. 

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Individuals can use this new and powerful technology in many aspects of the farming industry. With their vast array of sensors and cameras, drones are perfect for capturing aerial imagery and examining crops. Farmers can also use agriculture drone for livestock management, crop spraying, and irrigation mapping. Drones are becoming a mainstream innovative farming tool, and their prices will likely continue to drop as their popularity increases further. 

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a modern, sustainable approach which encourages the use of natural pest control mechanisms. It  aims to grow healthy crops with the minimum possible disruption to ecosystems and risks to the environment. 

Crop health is essential for good productivity in agriculture which means that IPM is a vital green technology for the future. 

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It reduces the use of synthetic pesticides and the toxic footprint of the farmland. It is a green technology that is easily accessible to lots of farmers and one which will make their land healthier and more productive. 

Organic Farming

Organic farming uses environmentally friendly farming methods to improve soil and human health, simultaneously protecting the environment. It uses higher quality soils which means better crop productivity of organic food, making it a more economically competitive option. Organic farming has less need for fertilizers and pesticides, which require many fossil fuels. 

Instead, Organic farming uses crop rotations and manure to control pests, disease, and weeds. Using organic technology mitigates the effects of global warming. It also uses less energy and promotes more incredible biodiversity. 

Organic farming must be used in balance since the farms require much larger land areas to produce the same crops. If the world converted to organic farming, we would probably have to chop woodlands down to accommodate it. 

Conclusion

These green technologies are leading the way in changing how the agricultural sector works. The stark reality is it won’t be one single technology that can save the planet from environmental destruction. There will be a series of new green technologies sometimes mixed in to return to some more ‘traditional’ techniques. 

Research is in progress for new technologies, and people are working hard to make our Earth a more sustainable place. Agriculture will always be essential for humanity, so it is in our best interests to find the most successful way to keep it green and sustainable. 

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