Growers in Illinois are looking for new ways to expand their use of technology, and artificial intelligence is emerging as their way of embracing the future of farm production.
Chad Colby, an agricultural technologist and creator of Colby AgTech, said Illinois farmers are starting to look into robotics as a way of managing their crops and are using technology they wouldn’t have considered a few years ago.
Remote sensing in soil and from the sky has become popular, according to Colby.
“Right now, today, the use is coming from satellites, drones and aircraft; but over the next couple years, you’ll see those benefits expand as guys start to utilize the benefits of new technology in our soils,” Colby said.
The costs for using artificial intelligence has gotten cheaper, Colby said.
“Lots of companies offer some amazing satellite-based solutions to get some of that remote sensing data at very low costs,” Colby said. “If a grower wants to take that resolution data and make it a lot more precise, you could pick up a good solid drone system for $2,500.”
“There are several companies out there that would automatically fly that drone back and forth in your field, and process the data at a very low cost,” Colby said. "We’re talking about less than $300 a month."
While many farmers in Illinois have embraced artificial intelligence, Colby said there are others that feel overwhelmed by all the new technology that is available.
Colby said those farmers should try to step out of their comfort zone and try it.
“When you talk to your service provider, why not try some drone imagery or satellite imagery on one of your farms,” Colby said. “Start to make an effort and try some of this technology because the exciting part is the costs are not prohibitive. It’s just a matter of trying something new.”