Food is the foundation of all life. Global demand for produce is rising, with demand set to increase anywhere between 59% to 98% by 2050. To meet that need, farmers will need to work harder to increase efficiency and yield with new harvest solutions.
This growing demand for food and an increasing shift to buying local can only benefit small farmers. If you churn out quality produce, bigger things are within reach. With careful research and steady work, you may be seeing better returns on your investments within the next few years. In fact, you may even be able to open your own grocery store one day, which isn’t too difficult, and is in fact a great goal to work towards.
If you’re planning to up the ante in terms of your equipment in the next few years, then here’s a short list of some of the best harvesting equipment you’ll need to ensure great yields and a fantastic harvest.
Automatic In-Row Weeders
Invasive weeds can choke your seedlings and deprive them of important nutrients from the soil and sunlight. Every farmer knows the struggle of fending off not just pests above ground, but weeds below ground as well. However, weeding is laborious work, which is why you might want to invest in an automatic in-row weeder. In-row weeders can help you save on manpower and time, allowing you to spend more time on complex farm work. New technology, including camera-guided weeding on some models, make this an important investment if you care about time and efficiency.
Tomato Harvesting Robots
Tomatoes are among the more popular produce in California, and a staple in many cuisines and cultures. Unfortunately, harvesting tomatoes can be notoriously difficult, and can be backbreaking work. It is repetitive work, too, and can take up hundreds of hours in labor to meet demands. Fortunately, farmers can seek help from the most unlikely of allies: robots.
In fact, Massachusetts-based startup Root AI unveiled last year a tomato harvesting robot that looks to recalibrate the way farmers harvest tomatoes in the future. This tomato harvesting robot, named Virgo 1, is self-driving and equipped with sensors, cameras, and lights so it can “see” across the field any time of day. Then, once it detects tomatoes that are ripe enough for harvest, it will pick each one gently using its dexterous “hands.”
Granted, it will take some time before robots like Virgo 1 become widespread, but they have got some pretty exciting potential. Regular mechanical harvesters can cost around $750,000, but big farms can easily recoup that investment within a year or less. Try shopping around for equipment that fits your budget and needs, and you’ll find the convenience is unbeatable.
Almonds and walnuts are popular nuts, and while they are easier to harvest compared to tomatoes, the process still entails lots of manual labor. And the bigger the farm, the greater the need for more manpower, especially if the nuts are being harvested manually. But again, you can rely on technology for help — this time, through machinery such as nut gatherers or harvesters by brands like Exact and Flory.
These machines aren’t as hi-tech as robot fruit gatherers (such as Virgo 1), but they are nonetheless extremely helpful as they eliminate the need for manual labor. In doing so, nut harvesters can free up time for farmers, thereby allowing them to do other things, like searching for suppliers, and communicating with distributors.
Larger scale farms may require a bit more work, however, and many farmers are willing to pay the price. In response, several manufacturers are now pushing the machinery to new heights, adding features and making equipment that farmers could previously only dream about. Indeed, the industry is adapting and making farming better and more efficient than ever before.