2020 Mega Trends: Advanced Agronomics
by Clinton Griffiths, AgWeb
Jan 09, 2020
Following a decade with the introduction of societal shifters like the smart phone and rapid expansion of social media, 2020 could be the starting block for the fastest technological race in agricultural history. Combining big data with cutting edge science, artificial intelligence and cloud connected technology has the potential revolutionize farming in ways only dreamed up in movies. We asked three farm futurists for their predictions for the next decade.
More data, more insights and more technology is going to drive agronomic advancement forward in the next decade. New genetic discoveries, coupled with today’s computing power, stands to revolutionize the speed of innovation. We broke the mega trends down to five key categories. Here are the mega trends for advanced agronomics:
CRISPR Gene Editing
The idea behind CRISPR-Cas9 was discovered 1987 but has but it’s been in the last five years that real advances in the gene editing technology have started to emerge. By exploiting the immune systems of bacteria to edit or cut and replace sequences of DNA it’s allowing genetic alterations to happen faster and for less cost. The revolutionary system has already been used to create mushrooms that don’t brown easily and may one day protect plants from drought, diseases or insects while helping humans fight cancer or eliminate genetic diseases.
“This gene editing technology is what farmers have been doing thousands of years only it speeds up the process exponentially,” says Jack Uldrich, agricultural futurist.
Uldrich points to a recent discovery at the University of Illinois where researchers were able to hack the genetic code of plants to make photosynthesis more efficient. The discovery showed a 40% improvement yields has the potential to work in many different food plants. The scientists think they could see yields boosted by up to 70% by mid-century using this one technique alone.
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