New Weeding Robot Could Boost Sustainable Agriculture and Increase Food Production

By Jane Marsh, founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co

Humanity needs food for survival, and maintaining consistent crop yields is essential. Recently, the world of artificial intelligence (AI) entered the agricultural industry, providing farmers with sustainable solutions. Engineers developed an autonomous robot that eliminates weeds and increases food production.

Weeds Effects on Food Production

Image: Tim Mossholder via Pexels

Weeds are difficult to manage because of their unpredictable growing patterns. Insect and disease management have designated tools and tactics where weed control differs. Pests and plant pathogens are consumers, and weeds are producers.

Invasive species generate energy from solar radiation, so different weather patterns and shade interferences affect the element. Yield loss occurs when crops and weeds must compete for resources. When the invasive species interfere with crops’ light, water or nutrient absorption, our food source becomes threatened.

Food-producing states lose up to 10% of their yields to weeds annually. Over time, the yield loss contributes to a significant amount of food waste. Tech companies developed AI farming technology to challenge the issue.

What is A Weeding Robot?

Weeding robots drive themselves through crop fields. Their various cameras scan the surface, and a computer system identifies whether weeds are present. When detected, the device zaps invasive plant species with carbon dioxide lasers.

The lasers work by burning plant matter with reflected light. Electricity filters through a tube with carbon dioxide, helium, hydrogen, and nitrogen. The combination generates light, reflected by mirrors down to the weeds.

If your current weeding machine has difficulty handling large pesticide quantities, or you want to limit your pesticide use, you may invest in a weeding robot.

What is Sustainable Agriculture?

Weeding robots enhance the sustainability of agricultural practices. Sustainable agriculture incorporates environmental, economic and social elements. Farmers wisely manage water, minimize pollution, promote biodiversity and maintain healthy soil.

Integrated pest management and soil preservation are two aspects that AI technology addresses. Rather than filling the Earth with pesticides, protecting a yield against weeds, lasers conduct the dirty work.

Some individuals identify organic and sustainable as synonymous terms. Sustainable refers to production efforts, following the methods presented above. One may produce food without pesticides or harmful toxins to attain the organic label.

Sustainable Agricultural Benefits

Robotic weeding is more sustainable than conventional methods. The device limits farmers’ use of pesticides, which cause marine degradation. When stormwater reaches pesticide-coated crops, it contributes to dead zone production.

Fertilizers and pesticides run off of farms with rainwater, polluting river and streams. Once they reach the ocean, the elements promote algae growth and kill or deform fish. Algal blooms deplete regional oxygen, creating uninhabitable aquatic regions.

AI farming equipment also benefits U.S. food production. Agricultural technology has increased crop yields by 170% since 1948. Weeding robots can secure our countries food supply, nourishing generations to come.

We could also donate the AI equipment to developing nations that struggle with food production. Nearly 690 million individuals experience hunger every day. With the right technology, we could reduce that number.

The autonomous devices additionally reduce food waste. The U.S. throws away between 30% and 40% of its food supply. We can limit our amount of waste by preventing external interferences.

Financial Benefits

Weeding is a challenging task for organic farmers. Without pesticides, many individuals use manual labor as a removal technique. Struggling farms often cannot support more employees, causing a financial dilemma.

New robotic weeding equipment is costly and pays off over time. Individuals may significantly increase their crop yields with agricultural AI, gaining a higher annual profit. They also help individuals maintain organic brands, which have a higher consumer value.

Around 70% of U.S. consumers prefer sustainable goods and services, and 69% will pay more for them. Pesticide-less produce is more profitable than other products. When farmers use a weeding robot instead of chemicals, they increase their customer appeal.

Invite a Robot to Your Farm

If you want to manage the weeds on your farm, you can invest in a robot today. The demands of eco-consumers rise each year. Stay ahead of the game by enhancing the sustainability of your farm with green technology.

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