The world of agriculture is in for massive disruption by new robotic use cases that are going to completely reinvent the way crops are planted, animals are managed and tended, and ag materials are handled. According to a new report out from analysts at Tractica, the growth in the ag robot market will see phenomenal growth through 2025. They predict that the market will increase more than tenfold in the next eight years, growing from $7.5B to $87.9B.
“Robots and automation technologies have the potential to dramatically improve crop quality and yields, reduce the amount of chemicals used, solve labor shortages, and provide hope for the economic sustainability of smaller farming operations,” they wrote.
Among the new types of robots expected to take over agriculture are an increase in unmanned aerial vehicles, autonomous tractors, and robots for planting, pruning, weeding, pick-and-place, sorting, seeding, spraying, harvesting, and materials handling.
“I think that this is the next great wave of agricultural productivity,” William Blair analyst Lawrence De Maria told Investor’s Business Daily in a report last summer that offered real world examples of robots already in place on fields, including a strawberry picking robot used by Driscoll’s that can pick a plant in 8 seconds flat. “The implementation of precision agriculture with automation will drive yields and reduce input costs for growers. It could rival the Green Revolution and mechanization as great drivers of agricultural productivity.”
And it’s not just robots that are doing the mechanical work of farming that will reinvent agriculture. Many farms are projected to start using different types of robots to collect valuable data around soil composition, rainfall, fertilizer use, and so on that can be dumped into data analysis software in a digitized process that will help them greatly maximize yields.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to a farmer’s machine shed and all their yield data for the past 15 years is sitting in spiral notebooks on the shelves,” Mike Stern, head of Bayer AG’s Climate Corp, told Bloomberg Businessweek in a report today that detailed the ag market’s movement to digitally transform they way it feeds the world.