AI system facilitates creation of climate-resilient crops
US-based firm Avalo created an artificial intelligence model that can help create climate-resilient crops. It identifies genes scientists could use to produce fruits and vegetables that resist drought, flooding, heat, and insects. As a result, it could improve global food security significantly quicker than traditional crop improvements.
You may not like genetically modified crops, but we’ve been selectively breeding them for years. Our fruits and vegetables are the result of thousands of years of farmers growing options that provide the best yields. However, food security is still a prevalent issue worldwide. Thanks to artificial intelligence, we might create better solutions.
This article will discuss how this AI crop system works. Then, I will cover artificial intelligence’s other agricultural applications, ranging from planning crops and harvesting them automatically.
How does the AI crop system work?
Large agricultural companies spend much time and money creating better versions of essential crops. However, areas closer to the Earth’s equator still struggle to yield more food.
“There are big decreases to yields in equatorial areas, and it’s not that corn kernels are getting smaller,” said Avalo CEO Brendan Collins. Farmers move upland because saltwater intrusion is disrupting fields, but they run into early spring frosts that kill their seedlings.”
“Or they need rust-resistant wheat to survive fungal outbreaks in humid, wet summers. We need to create new varieties if we want to adapt to this new varieties if we want to adapt to this new environmental reality.”
Previously, we grew improved versions of crops by growing multiple, comparing them, and then planting the seeds of the one that best suits our desired trait. Nowadays, we could take a more direct approach because we’ve sequenced the genome of these plants.
We can identify the ones that have our desired traits and target them for future generations. However, TechCrunch says that can still take a decade with conventional methods.
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We still have to test several traits because there isn’t only one gene that produces a trait. Fortunately, the new AI crop system can simulate the effects of changes to a plant’s genome, which can reduce the 15-year lead time to two or three.
“The idea was to create a much more realistic model for the genome that’s more evolutionary aware,” said Collins. These simulations will consider more contexts from biology and evolution to reduce false positives.
As a result, they could significantly cut research times for improved fruits and vegetables. “You can design the perfect genotype in silico [i.e., in simulation] and then do intensive breeding and watch for that genotype,” explained Collins.
What are the latest AI agriculture applications?
Artificial intelligence is not only involved in genetically altering crops. Nowadays, it is significantly improving every aspect of agriculture with the following applications:
- Crop predictions: Contrary to popular belief, you can’t plant whatever you want anytime. You must consider various conditions to ensure maximum yield and quality. Fortunately, artificial intelligence can expedite this process by checking soil quality and weather conditions.
- Robot field monitoring: Some companies have integrated AI systems into drones to monitor crops. They detect pest infestations, soil moisture, and crop health so farmers can adjust them immediately.
- Automated planting: AI drones also help plant seeds automatically, removing the need for roving agricultural vehicles or workers.
- Automated harvesting: Robots also harvest crops nowadays. For example, Israelis use it to pick pears because they lack people willing to do it.
- Eliminating weeds safely: Some companies use AI-powered vehicles that fire lasers at weeds to eliminate them without harming crops. Also, they’re overwhelmingly efficient, doing “the equivalent work of about 70 people.”
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A new AI crop system facilitates the creation of crop-resilient produce. It pinpoints genes that are likely to produce specific traits, significantly speeding up the process.
More companies would likely create programs like it, and your country may adopt one, too. That is why you should understand how these machines work.
They could improve food security in your area for years to come. Do you want to see more AI applications? Learn more about these digital tips and trends at Inquirer Tech.