In modern times, key challenges for the agriculture industry are no longer limited to feeding an increasing global population. It is also equally essential to reduce the environmental impact of farming and preserve natural resources for future generations.
Why is the agriculture industry bad for the environment? Agriculture has significant impacts on the environment. It begins with deforestation, razing air-cleaning trees to create open fields and pastures for crops and livestock cultivation.
It continues with the wide application of agrochemicals such as synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides as well as livestock grazing. All of these activities produce greenhouse gases and contribute to land and water degradation which are responsible for the contemporary climate crisis.
What are 3 Negative Effects of Agriculture on the Environment?
Modern agriculture is partly responsible for the sustainability crisis. Many techniques and modifications post-agricultural revolutions to boost output also harm the environment. There are several ways intensive agriculture threatens the balance of natural ecosystems.
- Irrigation: The global agriculture industry accounts for about 70% of human freshwater consumption, which is redirected onto farmland through various irrigation techniques. However, economical dependence on such techniques and consequent exploitation of waterways has led to the depletion of aquifers, river systems, and downstream groundwater.
- Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides: Modern agriculture has become heavily dependent on chemical inputs, which have doubled the rate of food production. However, excessive use of these chemicals has caused the once-beneficial nutrients to become pollutants. Accumulation of synthetic fertilizers, especially those containing nitrogen and phosphorous harm both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The agriculture industry is the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the energy industry. The addition of synthetic fertilizers and wastes to soil represents the largest source of agricultural emissions globally. Enteric fermentation, manure management, field burning of crop residues, and fuel use on farms also contribute to these emissions.
As a result of these effects, agriculture is further becoming a significant contributor to anthropogenic global warming and climate change. Modern agriculture and food production are tightly associated with climate pollutants such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
Current land-use changes, primarily from clearing land for crop production, can also contribute to climate change. Large-scale changes such as machine-intensive farming, in addition to deforestation and soil erosion, increase carbon concentration in the atmosphere.
Farm Management Software – A Driver of Agricultural Sustainability
In recent times, farming is proving to be a ripe industry for digital data. Improvements in satellite imagery and the emergence of smart machinery equipped with IoT sensors offer a detailed view of crop health in small to large farms across the globe.
How does farm management software reduces the negative environmental impact of agriculture? Digital transformation is booming in agriculture, and farm management software brings together a range of features and contributes to agricultural sustainability. Basic functions of farm management software include task scheduling, performance evaluation, and machinery and inventory management.
The addition of newer capabilities such as precision agriculture, food traceability, and quality assurance to farm management software reduces the negative environmental impact. The management and analyses of data gathered through sensors and precision agritech also make valuable contributions to agricultural sustainability.
Planning: Knowledge-based Approaches and Data-driven Systems
Traditional farming methods are resource-intensive, releasing various greenhouse gases in the process. Farmers often face challenges to switch from these techniques to more environment-friendly practices in their food production system, which are more complicated and offer less obvious benefits.
With the power of Big Data, farm management software is armed with insights into various weather and farm-related factors of past years. These insights give farmers the tools to reduce their negative environmental impact and confer confidence in the decisions made to improve sustainability.
Moreover, farm management software such as FarmERP has high-tech ERP features that allow farmers to plan their farm activities from task allocation to creating crop schedules. Such management ensures the efficient use of resources, thus reducing the negative environmental impact of agriculture.
Production: 3D View of Farms and Field Observation
Poor management and visibility of remote farms lead to inefficient use of resources, which not only creates an imbalance in food production but also negatively impacts the environment. Farm management software keeps a track of on-field resource usage and both farm-level and greenhouse activities.
It also provides details of the workforce, machines, and farm materials in terms of particular activities and locations. Real-time field observation through photographs and videos captured with cameras placed in the field and machinery helps farmers identify areas that require resource application. Farm management software also offers a wide range of effective tech solutions such as computer vision offerings, artificial intelligence, and smart algorithms that contribute to agricultural sustainability.
Post Production: Blockchain to Trace Entire Farm-to-Table Journey
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, it is estimated that 30%-40% of the entire US food supply is wasted every year, where 31% of the loss occurs at a retailer or consumer level and 40% at the supply chain. This is majorly due to poor storage and care during transportation. Moreover, supply chain interruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in increased food waste.
To help farmers reduce their negative environmental impact, FarmERP uses blockchain technology to track the journey of agriproducts. It allows farmers to trace a product through all stages of production, processing, distribution, transportation, and retail. This reduces food loss or waste in the supply chain due to poor management.
Today, farm management software offers insights and analytics regarding resource efficiency and risk management that farmers—committed to reducing their environmental impact and practising sustainability—require to be successful in their agribusiness. FarmERP, in particular, focuses on accelerating agricultural productivity and sustainability and helps farmers get critical insights into their farms and make well-informed decisions. Reach out to know how we can help you achieve your sustainability goals.