Harvest quality has always been closely linked to climate conditions. Therefore, there’s no doubt that global climate change will significantly affect agricultural production in the coming decades. Here are a few things to watch for.
It’s predicted that warm regions will face increasing incidences of drought and heatwaves that will ruin crops. Conversely, cold areas are expected to benefit from increased productivity by introducing new crops that were previously impossible to grow. This will result in a migration of crop production. Rising sea levels may also contribute to this movement, as flooding will increasingly affect coastal areas, causing crop destruction and soil deterioration.
Indirect effects on population
A shift in agricultural opportunities may cause people to move to more productive areas. For instance, less prosperous regions on the planet are most vulnerable to climate change. This is because they rely heavily on agriculture and often don’t have the technical or financial means to adapt their practices to changing natural conditions.
Good and bad surprises
Although some effects of climate change are already visible, the many variables at play make it difficult to predict the future. The success of crop production depends on moisture and precipitation, sunshine, the condition of the earth’s atmosphere, the severity of winters, and the proliferation of pests and diseases. The fate of agricultural activities will also be influenced by the capacity of human beings to respond appropriately to the disruptions to come.
While it’s nearly impossible to predict which scenario will come next, it’s important to implement sustainable land stewardship practices to preserve the environment for future generations.
New technologies in agriculture
Have you considered how advances in technology are impacting agricultural production? Here are some fascinating examples.
Milking robots are now deployed by many dairy producers. In addition to saving time and reducing labor requirements, these machines collect and record valuable data pertaining to feeding, production volumes, and animal behavior. In addition, researchers are pursuing new and improved means of using robotics to simplify tasks and further accelerate workflow.
These days, farmers are using information and communication technology (ICT) to improve various stages of production. Depending on their application, these technologies can enhance operations, refine support services, boost land use and improve value chains.
ICT enables farmers to collect a wealth of data to facilitate decision-making. Agricultural sensors with this technology deliver real-time transmission of crop data. In addition, ICT lasers provide food comparisons that help optimize taste and texture.
Farms are also increasingly using agricultural drones to detect the presence of predators and determine crop hydration levels.
Finally, among the many other technological innovations available to farmers are self-driving tractors, genetically modified plants, and pedometers for livestock. To learn more about how these technologies work, consider visiting a farm in your area.
What makes food organic?
Organic farming is practiced on many farms, and a variety of foods can be organic, including fruits, vegetables, wheat, meat, dairy products, and more. But what criteria does it take for a food to be certified as organic? Here’s an overview.
Fruits, vegetables, and wheat
Produce and grains must be grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizers to be certified as organic. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are also not acceptable. Growers must practice crop rotation to prevent the depletion of nutrients from the soil and improve harvests.
Meat, fish, and poultry
Animal breeding must be done under decent living conditions, without cages, and in a sufficiently spacious environment. Livestock must receive adequate health care and be fed with organic foods. The use of antibiotics and growth hormones is also prohibited.
Organically processed foods must not contain preservatives or artificial colors, or flavors. The USDA does approve some non-agricultural ingredients, such as baking soda in baked goods and pectin in jams. In addition, food irradiation, which kills certain microorganisms, must not be practiced.
In addition to being grown using eco-friendly practices, organic foods are good for your health. Encourage your local organic food producers by buying their fruits, vegetables, meats, grains, and other goods.
What you should know about animal husbandry
A considerable portion of the agricultural industry involves breeding animals for foods such as meat, cheese, and eggs, as well as products like wool and leather. How much do you know about animal husbandry? Here’s a brief introduction to this type of farming.
Farms can raise animals differently, and farmers adapt their practices according to their values, available facilities, and geographic region. Some agricultural operations use intensive farming methods, which require cages or equipped enclosures to house livestock. Other farms opt for extensive farming tactics, which involve raising animals outdoors or free-range. Some operations employ a combination of these two models.
Each approach to livestock management offers its advantages. While intensive farming results in increased production, extensive farming yields products that are superior in quality.
Breeding farms typically concentrate on a single animal species for meat or hides. However, animals may also be raised for their other attributes, which is the case with racehorse farming, for example.
Cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats are most commonly raised on North American farms. Other agricultural operations engage in beekeeping, aquaculture, or poultry farming. LFarmsraise bison, camels, llamas, rabbits, foxes, or insects. less frequently
Livestock farmers provide communities with many everyday products. Be sure to support the ones in your area by regularly purchasing meat, cheese, eggs, textiles, and more from them.
Permaculture: farming inspired by nature
Unlike intensive agriculture, which destroys habitats, pollutes waterways, and decreases soil quality, permaculture aims to emulate natural ecosystems rather than trying to fight or control nature. Here’s what you need to know about this sustainable practice.
The permaculture principles were developed in the 1970s by Australians Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. They don’t solely focus on agriculture but on buildings, energy, and technology. Today, permaculture is a design approach that integrates land, people, and other resources to align with nature.
Permaculture is based on 12 principles, all focused on caring for the land and the people who live on it. These principles include observation, which aims to develop effective and intelligent strategies for each situation. Other principles include:
• Valuing renewable resources and services
• Zero waste
• Promoting modest solutions
• Incorporating diversity
In agriculture, permaculture practices focus on restoring soil health and fertility. In the garden, permaculture aims to maximize the use of water, sun, and other natural energies. Permaculture also involves building living spa¬ces with biodegradable and locally sourced materials with a low ecological footprint.
Permaculture aims to create productive ecosystems that are diverse, stable, and resilient. Supporting the companies that practice it supports everyone.
3 questions to help you learn more about barn cats
Discreet and adventurous, barn cats are found on many farms. Learn more about these little four-legged felines with the following three questions.
1. What are they like?
Farm cats generally can’t adapt to living in a home because they’ve grown up outdoors. They’re quite active and don’t necessarily crave the companionship of humans. They may even be a little fearful of people and flourish better in a barn or outdoor environment.
2. What do they do?
Barn cats often make friends with other animals on the farm. These felines also have keen stalking skills and make great hunters. Consequently, they help farmers keep pests like mice under control.
3. How do you care for them?
Like all non-breeding domestic and farm animals, barn cats should be spayed or neutered. They also require annual veterinary visits for vaccinations and deworming. If you own a barn cat, you must provide it with fresh food and water, as prey isn’t always available. Moreover, farm cats require shelter from bad weather.
Overall, barn cats are handy animals to have around the farm.
4 farm safety tips
Celebrated from September 18 to 24, 2022, National Farm Safety and Health Week is an annual occasion that focuses on promoting health and safety on farms. If you live or work on a farm, you share the responsibility of keeping yourself and others safe. In honor of this event, here are four things you can do to ensure neither you nor anyone you’re working with is involved in a farming accident.
1. Keep your warning signals functioning
Ensure the warning lights and sounds on the machine you’re using are functioning and that the labeling is clear and visible. These signals provide essential warnings to their operators and those around them.
2. Be careful around power take-off (PTO) shafts
PTO shafts transfer power from a tractor to an attached implement. Although extremely useful, PTOs can be dangerous. Therefore, make sure to keep loose clothing and items away from the shaft and never reach or step over one while in operation.
3. Invest in rollover protection
If you don’t already have one, consider investing in a rollover protective structure (ROPS) for your tractor. Every year, farmers are injured or killed in tractor rollovers.
4. Get plenty of sleep
If you’re tired, you’re more likely to make mistakes that could cost you or someone you’re working with a limb or their life. Get the sleep you need and quit working if you’re too tired to continue safely.
Safety and health are the responsibility of everyone working on a farm.