Concerns about the transition from Agriculture to Agriautomation fueled by OFE
By: Montana State University On-Farm Precision Experimentation Group
We consider the potential endpoint of our research utilizing on-field experimentation to optimize crop production so that it maximizes farmer profits but minimizes pollution from crop production inputs (e.g. cover crops, fertilizers and pesticides). Our research has contributed the ability to fully automate OFE through the use of precision technologies and modern analytics.
The conundrum is that agriautomation results in a more ecologically based agriculture that can simultaneously focus on food nutritional density and minimization of pollution, but ultimately removes human and historic mechanisms of knowledge. Agriautomation, the end point of industrialized agriculture, will likely increase farm size and consolidation leading to a fully automated food system controlled by modern data analytics (primarily machine learning) not people.
We ask ourselves if there is a way to preserve the "culture" in agriculture and at the same time draw on the new and rapidly evolving data stream and analytics to envision a future that maintains an agrarian component to society. In part, we addressed this question with the concept of precision agroecology (Duff et al. 2022). However, there is much more to do as we consider the conundrum of agriculture and agriautomation. Read More