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Artificial Intelligence: A Sustainable Approach to Today’s Farming
Iowa Ag Connection - 09/21/2023

When it comes to technology, I would not consider myself an early adopter.

I prefer chatting with a cashier to using a self-checkout. I write lists with a pen and paper instead of an app on my phone. And I’m often asking my smart-device-loving-husband, “What the heck do we need that for?”

However, I can even recognize the good technology can do. Particularly when it comes to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in farming and its role in animal care and sustainability.

I can recognize the good technology can do.

Here are a few examples of AI in agriculture I find especially fascinating:

Some dairy farms use AI to milk their cows. The robot can autonomously hook itself up to a cow’s udders and simultaneously track how much milk she produces along with important health metrics. These data points help farmers make needed adjustments to a cow’s diet to ensure she is receiving all the nutritional requirements needed to live comfortably.

While not yet widely adopted, a newer innovation in pig farming is AI to monitor individual pigs in a pen. Cameras can differentiate between pigs and monitor their activity, feeding habits and weight. This allows farmers to provide individual care and also take a pig to market at the correct weight. A farmer I talked to recently was fascinated by this technology but was cautious about if it would pencil out, a valid point with farm inputs being incredibly high right now.


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