Horticulture might sound simple and easy, but specialists know how to direct monitoring and attention these crops require. Each plant requires additional monitoring to ensure no space for emerging pests or diseases. They are restricted to an acceptable threshold. Such intensive and integrated management was an established approach. It paved the way for technological advancements that automated and revised the farm operations that were earlier performed manually. This includes more reliability and precision. Here are some of the ways in which technology has benefited horticulture crops in the long run.
Automatic Plant Monitoring
Scouting the crop allows the farmer to identify the pest and gives them enough time to take preventative measures. It also predicts future threats and possibilities and saves time and money. The essential equipment required for Crop scouting is a magnifying glass, clipboard, marker, camera, and a plastic bag to keep the samples. Today, even some mobile apps provide better pictures of pests and diseases in the crop with improved accuracy. Some apps even suggest possible solutions.
Drones for Pest Identification
Drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles started as military weapons to scout and target specific areas, and enemy hotspots are now playing a crucial role in sustainable agriculture. These specially adapted drones can identify disease hotspots in the crops and can sprinkle seeds or organisms that will help to get rid of the pests. These drones are now in high demand. There are drones attached with image sensor technology too. They can help reduce crop damage in the coming years. These drones have a wingspan of around 1.5 meters and can lift about 10kgs to 15kgs.
Last year, in a building management system that was a project, drones with image sensor technology, remote sensing, and AI were used to eliminate a dangerous weed called the Giant Hogweed in Denmark. This shows how technological advancements help sustainability and restore the ecosystem.
Alternatives to growth in soil
Technology has already revised the need for natural resources like land and water. Consider hydroponics, where plants are grown with a minimal amount of solid substances, mainly gravel and sand. A recyclable solution is responsible for providing the exact quantity of nutrients that the plant requires. It reduces water consumption by 90 percent. This reduces the overall pest problems. Some of the most renowned crops grown in hydroponics are lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, and herbs.
Aeroponics is another plant-growing solution that uses a moist atmosphere to allow the plants to grow. It lets the plants derive those nutrients with sprays. It will enable the plants to grow in the most inconvenient environment, such as in intelligent buildings and underground buildings. The usage of vertical farming is increasing, mostly inside construction sites and in the case of urban agriculture. These methods are combined with innovative alternatives like hydroponics to efficiently use space and diminish the distance the food needs to cover to get to the people.
Biocontrol: Plant Defences
Microorganisms that promote plant growth can be considered from the start of any cultivation cycle. Research is focusing on how this works. This can eventually increase the air’s microbial composition around these plants’ roots. It is easy for beneficial microbes to activate the defense systems of plants. This makes them grow more robust, and also, while living near the root system, they start competing for space and nutrients along with pathogens.
Pathogens are those microorganisms that can also cause diseases. For instance, Trichoderma directly impacts pathogens through predation and antibiotics substances alongside the root zone. The implication of certain substances through a speed coating is a significant trick to apply microorganisms to crops. This is the way biopesticides have also been developed. The three categories of microbial biopesticides are bacteria, fungi, and oomycetes. Usually, they provide a wide range of tools for disease control and non-chemical pests. However, they are strictly regulated. The country’s plant growth products need to be registered for the application.
With the continuous expansion in the world population, there is pressure built over traditional food production. The dwindling water and land resources and changing climatic conditions are some of the challenges. Technology has provided tangible solutions to horticulture crops, creating a prosperous future for crop production.