One of the most promising future technologies to join with pest management is AI. Artificial intelligence is widely regarded as a means to increase efficiency and if used correctly a means to lower the environmental impact of pest management programmes.
Currently AI is very costly, limiting its implementation within agriculture, however firms such as Agrosmart are offering innovative solutions to lower the cost and bring AI implementation to a wider audience.
According the data from the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation the losses suffered by Brazilian agriculture due to crop pests and diseases amounts to $55 Billion per year, an eye watering sum.
Agrosmart are hoping to provide a solution to this loss by using the internet of things (IoT) technology to create a connected application to help famers apply the right amount of agrochemical at the right time, combating pests more effectively, more cost effectively and with less environmental impact.
Artificial intelligence will be used to identify and quantify insects caught in strategically distributed pheromone traps equipped with sensors, these sensors will connect to an on-board electronic system which transits the data to an internet server where images are processed and insects counted and identified. This data is them presented to the farmer in a readymade report via smartphone or tablet, helping the farmer determine whether agrochemical should or should not be used. Unlike smart traps which use machine learning technology to identify tests, solutions such as that proposed by Agrosmart can be far more cost effective and thus more applicable to smaller scale farmers who often feel the economic hit of pest related damage the hardest.
The key challenge to overcome with these projects is internet access in remote rural areas, once this challenge has been met integrated pest management incorporating AI will become a viable and important step to reduce crop degradation from insect pests. Watch this space.