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OSU Uses AI to Save Bees - The Corvallis Advocate

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Researchers in the Oregon State University College of Engineering have harnessed the power of artificial intelligence to help protect bees from pesticides.  Cory Simon, assistant professor of chemical engineering, and Xiaoli Fern, associate professor of computer science, led the project, which involved training a machine learning model to predict whether any proposed new herbicide, fungicide or insecticide would be toxic to honey bees based on the compound’s molecular structure.  The findings, featured on the cover of The Journal of Chemical Physics in a […]


Using AI in agriculture could boost global food security – but we need to anticipate the risks

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As the global population has expanded over time, agricultural modernisation has been humanity's prevailing approach to staving off famine. A variety of mechanical and chemical innovations delivered during the 1950s and 1960s represented the third agricultural revolution. The adoption of pesticides, fertilisers and high-yield crop breeds, among other measures, transformed agriculture and ensured a secure food supply for many millions of people over several decades. Concurrently, modern agriculture has emerged as a culprit of global warming, responsible for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, namely carbon dioxide and methane. Meanwhile, inflation on the price of food is reaching an all-time high, while malnutrition is rising dramatically.


US High Court Denies Bayer Bid To Block Roundup Weedkiller Lawsuits

International Business Times

The US Supreme Court on Tuesday declined an appeal from Bayer-owned Monsanto that aimed to challenge thousands of lawsuits claiming its weedkiller Roundup causes cancer -- a potentially costly ruling. The high court did not explain its decision not to take the case, which left intact a $25 million ruling in favor of a California man who alleged he developed cancer after using the chemical for years. The decision marks a major blow to the German conglomerate's legal fight against some 31,000 Roundup-related cases. "Bayer respectfully disagrees with the Supreme Court's decision," the company said in a statement. "The company believes that the decision undermines the ability of companies to rely on official actions taken by expert regulatory agencies," it added, referring to a 2020 federal finding that Roundup's active ingredient is not risky.


Will Artificial Intelligence and robotics usher in an era of sustainable precision agriculture?

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Across midwestern farms, if Girish Chowdhary has his way, farmers will someday release beagle-sized robots into their fields like a pack of hounds flushing pheasant. The robots, he says, will scurry in the cool shade beneath a wide diversity of plants, pulling weeds, planting cover crops, diagnosing plant infections, and gathering data to help farmers optimize their farms. Chowdhary, a researcher at the University of Illinois, works surrounded by corn, one of the most productive monocultures in the world. In the United States, the corn industry was valued at $82.6 billion in 2021, but it -- like almost every other segment of the agricultural economy -- faces daunting problems, including changing weather patterns, environmental degradation, severe labor shortages, and the rising cost of key supplies, or inputs: herbicides, pesticides, and seed. Agribusiness as a whole is betting that the world has reached the tipping point where desperate need caused by a growing population, the economic realities of conventional farming, and advancing technology converge to require something called precision agriculture, which aims to minimize inputs and the costs and environmental problems that go with them. No segment of agriculture is without its passionate advocates of robotics and artificial intelligence as solutions to, basically, all the problems facing farmers today.


Farming Drives Toward 'Precision Agriculture' Technologies

WIRED

This story originally appeared on Undark and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Across Midwestern farms, if Girish Chowdhary has his way, farmers will someday release beagle-sized robots into their fields like a pack of hounds flushing pheasant. The robots, he says, will scurry in the cool shade beneath a wide diversity of plants, pulling weeds, planting cover crops, diagnosing plant infections, and gathering data to help farmers optimize their farms. Chowdhary, a researcher at the University of Illinois, works surrounded by corn, one of the most productive monocultures in the world. In the United States, the corn industry was valued at $82.6 billion in 2021, but it--like almost every other segment of the agricultural economy--faces daunting problems, including changing weather patterns, environmental degradation, severe labor shortages, and the rising cost of key inputs: herbicides, pesticides, and seed.


Opinion

#artificialintelligence

As the global population has expanded over time, agricultural modernisation has been humanity's prevailing approach to staving off famine. A variety of mechanical and chemical innovations delivered during the 1950s and 1960s represented the third agricultural revolution. The adoption of pesticides, fertilisers and high-yield crop breeds, among other measures, transformed agriculture and ensured a secure food supply for many millions of people over several decades. Concurrently, modern agriculture has emerged as a culprit of global warming, responsible for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, namely carbon dioxide and methane. Meanwhile, inflation on the price of food is reaching an all-time high, while malnutrition is rising dramatically.


Farmers employ AI-powered drones to fight crop diseases, insects

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According to the institute, its forecasting solution will help farmers deal with crop diseases in a timely manner and curb overuse of pesticides, which is rampant due to the lack of accurate information about the extent of crop infection. IIIT Naya Raipur's forecasting solution uses drones to monitor crops and capture live images if it detects any issues in them. The images are then sent from the drone in real time to the institute's servers, where an image classification model based on convolutional neural networks (CNN) is used to identify the disease and insects that are affecting it. CNNs are AI algorithms commonly used for image and video recognition. They can process an image, assign importance to its various attributes, and differentiate one image from another.


Spot spraying on target to cut inputs - Future Farming

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Developed by Exxact Robotics, a subsidiary of the large, French Exel Industries Group, it is set to be employed on a wide range of its sprayer brands including Agrifac, Berthoud, Evrard, Hardi, Technoma and the USA-built Apache. The system combines high resolution, embedded cameras and sensors with artificial intelligence algorithms, which are integrated into the company's existing sprayers. "It is designed to optimise inputs with high precision, ultra-localised spray applications – accurate to the individual nozzle level," explains the company. Capable of working day or night and up to speeds of 25km/h, the technology has been developed from spot spraying systems that have been working in the field for the past five years, says the firm. This latest technology is designed to detect and treat weeds, diseases, pests and nutrient requirements, in real time, in growing crops.


Self-Driving Farm Robot Uses Lasers To Kill 100,000 Weeds An Hour, Saving Land And Farmers From Toxic Herbicides

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The nutrient content of our vegetables is down 40% over the last two decades and our soil health is suffering due to increasingly harsh herbicide use, according to Carbon Robotics founder Paul Mikesell. And farmers are increasingly concerned about the long-term health impacts of continually spraying chemicals on their fields. But not weeding will cost half your crop, killing profitability. A self-driving farm robot that kills 100,000 weeds an hour ... by laser. "We wanted [to] figure out if there's a better way we could do this."


AlphaGarden: Learning to Autonomously Tend a Polyculture Garden

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Abstract-- This paper presents AlphaGarden: an autonomous polyculture garden that prunes and irrigates living plants in a 1.5m 3.0m physical testbed. AlphaGarden uses an overhead camera and sensors to track the plant distribution and soil moisture. We model individual plant growth and interplant dynamics to train a policy that chooses actions to maximize leaf coverage and diversity. For autonomous pruning, AlphaGarden uses two custom-designed pruning tools and a trained neural network to detect prune points. Results suggest AlphaGarden can autonomously achieve 0.96 normalized diversity with pruning shears while maintaining an average canopy coverage of 0.86 during the peak of the cycle. Industrial agriculture is based on monoculture, where a single crop type is cultivated, requiring substantial use of, pesticides, and water [1], [2].