If there is a commonality across all the changes happening in agriculture, it’s one of prioritizing a farm’s long-term viability. While the Industrial and Green Revolutions increased crop yields, farmers paid for it in the forms of dependency on larger machinery and aggressive use of petrochemicals, both of which led to poor financial and environmental outcomes. In recent years, many AgTech innovations have been targeting these perennial difficulties along with a number of newer challenges. Going into 2024, the AgTech landscape continues to evolve, driven by a confluence of advanced technology and a growing emphasis on sustainable and efficient farming practices for a food ecosystem that protects the long-term financial viability and health of all stakeholders.
Here are the top five 2024 AgTech trends to know about so you can stay ahead of the curve for a more prosperous future.
1. Climate Resilient Farming
From a decades-long drought that nearly depleted reservoirs and water tables to excessive, torrential rains that intensified erosion, extreme weather events have become the norm. Strategies in everything from soil management to farm operations are critical to helping a farm build resiliency against challenging weather events. To mitigate against the extremes, farmers are turning to solutions such as exportable battery power and regenerative farming tactics that use technology to conserve resources, reduce emissions, and save money.
Preparing a farm for climate resilience is key to successful outcomes. I believe the same care that helps prepare our farms for drought resilience also helps us navigate excessive rains like we experienced this last winter.
Carlo Mondavi, Chief of Farming & Co-founder, Monarch Tractor
2. AI, Robotics & Automation
Recognizing the potential gains in efficiency, safety, and productivity, the agricultural sector has embraced artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and automation. Various applications of these technologies are expanding. This includes autonomous tractors, robotic harvesters, and use of drones for precision ag. Robotics can improve efficiency, reduce labor costs, address labor shortages, and even create a healthier work environment. Demand for these technologies is growing. According to research firms, growth forecasts for the global autonomous tractor market through 2030 show steady and impressive growth.
3. Sustainable Farming
Farmers want tools that empower them to be good stewards of their farmlands and grow healthy, nutritious, and profitable crops today and in the future. To this end, the focus on financial and environmental sustainability is driving the adoption of technologies that promote regenerative farming practices. AgTech solutions across electrification, renewable energy, automation, and AI are meeting farmers’ needs in everything from accessing and storing power to increasing safety during operations to developing a robust and resilient soil microbiome.
Having these creative ways to farm that don’t hurt our soil microbiome and farm biology, but benefit it, allows us to go to a whole new level of farming where we can do that for less than the cost of today’s conventional farming.
Carlo Mondavi, Chief of Farming & Co-founder, Monarch Tractor
4. EVs in Agriculture
While electrification continues to improve in the auto industry, it’s in the agricultural space where electric tractors are building on recent successes and making continued gains. While consumers harbor concerns over battery range in EV urban mobility, EV tractors are overcoming the challenge. Monarch’s MK-V has a runtime of up to 14 hours and is currently the only tractor on the market with swappable battery technology. For perspective, during its first year on the market, Monarch’s MK-V customers collectively conducted over 16,000 hours of emissions-free operations, offset upwards of 740,000 lbs. of CO2 emissions, and saved more than $198,000 in fuel expenses. With increasing consumer demand and regulations to transition to cleaner farming practices, EVs in agriculture are poised to grow.
Today’s farmers are expected to meet the demands of a growing population in a world where access to the world’s arable land is declining. At the same time, less than half of U.S. farms are profitable despite massive investments in machinery and inputs such as fertilizers and herbicides. Farmers need new solutions, and they are finding it in data that provides the insights and awareness they need to make efficient, informed decisions and simplify reporting. Access to useful data has become a crucial tool in modern farming and the integration of data-driven technologies is transforming the agricultural landscape.
Electric, automated, and smart technologies really have a place in agriculture. The tractor sits at the center of almost every operation on the farm, making it a logical platform to collect data.
Praveen Penmentsa, CEO & Co-founder, Monarch Tractor
2024 & Beyond
We’re encouraged by many of the trends we see in agriculture. They validate the core of what Monarch Tractor is all about; working towards a better agricultural future with farmer-first solutions that benefit all stakeholders in the global food chain. While we reached many milestones in 2023, we’re eager for 2024 and the improvements and developments in store for our customers that will help them stay ahead of ag’s challenges. It’s go time!
Williams, A.P., Cook, B.I. & Smerdon, J.E. Rapid intensification of the emerging southwestern North American megadrought in 2020–2021. Nat. Clim. Chang. 12, 232–234 (2022). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01290-z
Harvey, C. & E&E News. (2022, Feb. 15) Western ‘Megadrought’ is the worst in 1200 years. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/western-megadrought-is-the-worst-in-1-200-years/
Coherent Market Insights. (2022, Sept.) Autonomous Tractor Market Analysis. https://www.coherentmarketinsights.com/market-insight/autonomous-tractor-market-5226
Meticulous Research. (2022, Nov.) Autonomous Tractors Market by Type, Component, Power Output, Application — Global Forecast 2029. https://www.meticulousresearch.com/product/autonomous-tractors-market-5388