Agriculture, Ag Tech February 01, 2024
The human brain + precision ag = a winning combination.
Our brains can process about 20 million billion calculations per second—that's a lot of calculations! It's much more capable than the fastest computer. But the brain's superiority lies not in its efficiency, but in its ability to engage in creative thinking, context retention, and adaptation.
Computers excel in performing rapid repeated calculations, deterministically. Farmers need these executed within an uncertain environment. So it makes perfect sense to let farmers do the critical thinking, and let computers perform the repeated tasks.
Consider herbicide application. Given infinite resources, growers would prefer spraying each weed precisely, reducing chemicals and avoiding implications like herbicide resistance. If we gave this task to humans alone, it would require each human to learn what's considered a sprayable weed, visually detect that weed, start spraying over the weed, know when to stop spraying, and repeat continuously. Unrealistic, right?
John Deere's See & Spray™ technology uses 36 cameras covering up to 2,100 sq. ft. at once, all while running algorithms that process images to help differentiate crops—corn, soybeans or cotton—from weeds or volunteer plants. Once detected, the ExactApply™ nozzle-body is signaled to precisely spray only the weed, all within milliseconds while running up to 15 mph. Within the time a 100 mph baseball goes from pitch mound to home plate, this system can process over 800 images.
Computers automate tasks, allowing farmers to leverage their cognitive abilities to interpret weather, data, and make strategic decisions. Human intelligence led to the innovations in ag technology. The human brain remains the central pillar in shaping the future of agriculture. ‡
Two of a Kind
How two neighbors united during a trying time.