How Agricultural Robots Can Help Global Food Supply Shortages

IDTechEx Research Logo - Robotics

June 16, 2022

According to Hansotia, about “13% of the global calories came out of production” when Russian and Ukrainian borders shut down. The Russia-Ukraine war has put pressure on farmers globally to produce more crops to make up for a gap in supply left by the two countries. As prices of wheat, fuel, and fertilizer rise, the total costs for farmers have been increasing. For instance, due to the Ukraine-/Russia-related Sanctions, post-effects of quantitative easing during COVID, and supply chain disruptions, the prices of Brent crude oil have quadrupled from around 28 USD/Bbl (Barrel of crude oil) in March 2020 to 105 USD/Bbl.

The agricultural industry is already vulnerable due to highly commoditized products, heavy competition, and a thin profit margin. Therefore, it is no surprise that the rise in fuel and fertilizer prices will likely exacerbate this situation, making farmer’s business even more difficult. Meanwhile, to maintain the same level of global food supply as the pre-war level, more food needs to be produced, and the increasing demand leads to a higher pressure on farmers to produce more crops.

Given the intensified financial struggle, together with higher demand for food production, improving farming efficiencies is imminent. One efficiency improvement is to adopt automated machines – agricultural robots (also known as automated agricultural machinery). Human laborers are limited with their working hours and high operational costs (wage), whereas agricultural robots are much more cost-effective in the long run. At this stage, the adoption rate of agricultural robots remains relatively low due to several issues, including lack of technical robustness, high upfront costs, complicated technologies, and many others. Until these problems are resolved, IDTechEx do not expect agricultural robots to be widely adopted. However, one thing that is particularly worth noting is that although there are multiple associated issues, some applications of agricultural robots have been commercialized thanks to their relatively simple technologies and short payback time. Examples include milking robots, agricultural drones, and automated weeding robots. Although several applications are struggling to get scaled up due to lack of funding, incredibly high technological requirements, and a lack of willingness to buy, IDTechEx have seen efforts being made to resolve these issues.

To address these problems, IDTechEx have recently published a report – “Agricultural Robots and Drones 2022-2032: Technologies, Markets & Players”, where technologies, types of agricultural robots, their drivers, barriers, stages of commercialization, and application areas are analyzed in depth.

Agricultural_Robot_Market_Size.png

Based on primary and secondary analysis, IDTechEx believe that the agricultural robot industry is expected to grow quickly thanks to the high efficiencies and low operating costs. These advantages can be the ideal solutions to the previously mentioned challenges in the agricultural industry. Amongst all of the applications, IDTechEx believe that autonomous tractors and carriers will be one of the major drivers due to the increasing efforts in the autonomous driving sector. Compared with on-road vehicles, autonomous tractors and carriers for agricultural applications must tackle difficult terrain, limited access to the infrastructure and many other issues. These risks enhance the technical difficulties of implementing autonomous driving technologies on agricultural machines. However, with improvements in technologies such as sensory systems and artificial intelligence (AI), these problems are soon expected to be resolved. Earlier this year, at the CES show 2022, John Deere introduced its latest autonomous tractors that end-users can remotely monitor via mobile apps. According to one of the farmers interviewed by IDTechEx, labor has always been an issue in agriculture. Farmers need labor and long working hours to make sure that harvesting/seeding can be completed within short specific time windows. However, with the aid of autosteer/autonomous driving technologies, the workload for farmers could be significantly reduced, resolving labor issues.

Although the agricultural industry is relatively conservative compared to other industries, IDTechEx do see a huge potential in agricultural robots/automation in agriculture. Unlike many years ago, when technologies were not ready and labor was cheap, the current situations (increasing technical robustness, high labor costs, rising fuel costs, and the demand for higher food production) almost provide a perfect opportunity for people to adopt agricultural robots. IDTechEx believe that in the upcoming decade, the agricultural robot industry will go through a rapid increase.

For more information, visit HERE.

Related Articles


Changing Scene


Sponsored Content
The Easy Way to the Industrial IoT

The way to the Industrial IoT does not have to be complicated. Whether access to valuable data is required or new, data-driven services are to be generated, Weidmuller enables its customers to go from data to value the easy way. Weidmuller’s comprehensive and cutting-edge IIoT portfolio applies to greenfield and brownfield applications. Weidmuller offers components and solutions from data acquisition, data pre-processing, data communication and data analysis.

Visit Weidmuller’s Industrial IoT Portfolio.


ADVANCED Motion Controls Takes Servo Drives to New Heights (and Depths) with FlexPro Extended Environment Product Line

Advanced Motion Controls is proud to announce the addition of six new CANopen servo drives with Extended Environment capabilities to their FlexPro line. These new drives join AMC’s existing EtherCAT Extended Environment FlexPro drives, making the FlexPro line the go-to solution for motion control applications in harsh environments.

Many motion control applications take place in conditions that are less than ideal, such as extreme temperatures, high and low pressures, shocks and vibrations, and contamination. Electronics, including servo drives, can malfunction or sustain permanent damage in these conditions.

Read More


Service Wire Co. Announces New Titles for Key Executives

Bruce Kesler and Mark Gatewood have been given new titles and responsibilities for Service Wire Co.

Bruce Kesler has assumed the role of Senior Director – Business Development. Bruce will be responsible for Service Wire’s largest strategic accounts and our growing Strategic Accounts Team.

Mark Gatewood has been promoted to the role of Vice President – Sales & Marketing. In this role, Gatewood will lead the efforts of Service Wire Company’s entire sales and marketing organization in all market verticals.

Read More


Tri-Mach Announces the Purchase of an Additional 45,000 sq ft. Facility

Tri-Mach Elmira Facility

Recently, Tri-Mach Inc. was thrilled to announce the addition of a new 45,000 sq ft. facility. Located at 285 Union St., Elmira, ON, this facility expands Tri-Mach’s capabilities, allowing them to better serve the growing needs of their customers.

Positioning for growth, this additional facility will allow Tri-Mach to continue taking on large-scale projects, enhance product performance testing, and provide equipment storage for their customers. The building will also be the new home to their Skilled Trades Centre of Excellence.

Read More


JMP Parent Company, CONVERGIX Acquires AGR Automation, Expanding Global Reach

Convergix Automation Solutions has completed the acquisition of AGR Automation (“AGR”), a UK-based provider of custom, high-performance automation design and systems integration primarily to the life sciences industry.

Following Convergix’s acquisitions of JMP Solutions in August 2021 and Classic Design in February 2022, AGR marks the third investment in Crestview’s strategy to build Convergix into a diversified automation solutions provider targeting the global $500+ billion market, with a particular focus on the $70 billion global systems integration and connectivity segments. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Read More


Latest Articles

  • How Rittal and EPLAN Achieve Your Automation Goals

    How Rittal and EPLAN Achieve Your Automation Goals

    In the not-so-distant past, planning a road trip meant poring over maps and dealing with uncertainties like road construction, accidents, or bad weather. But with modern technology like GPS navigation, travelers can now anticipate and adjust their routes in real-time. Similar to road trips, the journey of panel builders, machine builders, and system integrators in… Read More…

  • Discussing Vancouver’s Building Emissions By-Law with Schneider Electric’s Emily Heitman

    Discussing Vancouver’s Building Emissions By-Law with Schneider Electric’s Emily Heitman

    The city of Vancouver is the first Canadian jurisdiction to pass a by-law regulating building emissions. The Annual Greenhouse Gas and Energy Limits bylaw will come into effect June 1st, 2024, and requires building owners for large commercial offices, retail, and residential buildings over 100,000 sq ft to report their emissions. The bylaw follows cities… Read More…