What if crops could communicate the way we do? What would they say about current farming methods, how would they improve the process of farming, what would they like to protect, and how would they see the use of technology, AI, vision systems, and machine learning? These are some of the questions that I imagined asking the crops in my field, and here are some of the answers that I assume I’d get.
First of all, I’d like to think that crops would tell us they appreciate the efforts that we make to grow them; they’d thank us for providing them with the necessary inputs such as seeds, water, nutrients, and sunlight. They would hopefully also recognise the challenges that we face, such as climate change, population growth, food security, and market demand. They would then offer their support for us to adopt more efficient and effective farming practices that meet their needs and ours.
Then we’d discuss some ways to improve the process of farming. They would advise us to listen to them more, to observe their signs and signals, and to communicate with them regularly. They would also recommend we use more natural and biological methods to control pests and weeds, such as companion planting, mulching, and beneficial insects. They would also encourage us to use more renewable and efficient energy sources, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and biogas.
Next, they would tell us what they would like to protect. They would say that they care about the soil, the water, the air, and the biodiversity that sustains them. They would warn us about the consequences of soil erosion, water pollution, air contamination, and habitat loss that threaten their survival and ours. They would ask us to take action to conserve and restore these precious resources that we share with them.
Finally, crops would share their views on the use of technology, AI, vision systems, and machine learning. They would acknowledge that these tools can offer many benefits to the farmer and to yields and long-term sustainability. For example, they can help monitor crop health and growth, optimize irrigation and fertilization, detect pests and diseases early, reduce labour costs and human errors, increase productivity and profitability, and enhance food quality and safety. They would also express their excitement about the possibilities that these tools open up for innovation and improvement in farming that could enable precision agriculture, smart irrigation, vertical farming, hydroponics, aquaponics etc. They would also appreciate the role that these tools play in empowering farmers with data and insights that can help them make better decisions. Therefore they would urge us to use these tools wisely and responsibly.
In conclusion, crops have a lot to say if we are willing to ‘listen’. They can teach us valuable lessons about farming and life. They can also inspire us to innovate and improve our practices. After all, nature has proven time and again that it knows more than we give it credit for – and maybe we should pay more attention to what crops have to tell us through the use of our ever-advancing tools to be able to hear them.