Is Precision Agriculture The Future?

Satellite-directed planting, a smartphone app for milking: These may seem like strange devices out of rural dystopian science fiction, but they are in fact much-anticipated technological developments in the field of agriculture.

Leading the way on a new technological front, this so-called "precision agriculture" blends together the most modern technologies and tailors them to meet traditional farming needs.

As old farm equipment nears the end of its usefulness, more and more farmers are looking towards newer, more high-tech replacements. From global positioning software that can tell growers precisely where to plant, to a cloud-based computer system that manages the health of a herd of cattle, these new developments have it covered.

The only thing stopping these technologies from becoming ubiquitous on American farms is the price tag. State of the art computers may save farmers a bundle on time, but they are still big-ticket items that smaller farms don't have the budget for.

While new tools such as robotic milking have already become quite popular in Europe, in the United States, where wage controls are looser, it has yet to be seen whether automated agriculture will be worth the investment.