UK - Robots Do Farm Work

Arno Froese

Researchers at Harper Adams University in Shropshire are trying to sow, look after and then harvest a field of barley using only robots and autonomous vehicles. No humans are allowed into the pilot-plot at all.

They call it “Hands Free Hectare” and in the office we call it “Robocrop.” Long story short the team are actually doing pretty well with a field of barley shoots that looks healthy if a bit patchy here and there.

In fact, they’re doing so well with their combination of off-the-shelf tech and nifty engineering skills that I began to wonder if building farming robots wasn’t actually pretty easy?

Then I spent an afternoon at the global agricultural-robot challenge also hosted by Harper Adams. I watched the best student engineering teams from all over the world put robots to work on simple agricultural tasks. And I saw that making an agricultural robot that performs is actually really, really, really difficult.

I learned that the achievements of the “Hands Free Hectare” team really are pretty extraordinary. Making agricultural robots is possible with current technology, but it’s also really hard. I have a healthy new respect for the Hands Free Hectare team who currently make it look so easy., 23 June 2017

Arno's commentary

Agriculture in developed countries is accomplished by two or fewer percent of the workforce. They actually produce an over-abundance of produce. Government regulations have often intervened to reduce acreage or destroy crops ready for harvest. It is of interest that all such countries implement government guidelines and are supported by tax subsidies. In South Carolina, for example, the government subsidizes agriculture at the rate of $100 million per year.

Now, robots seem to be the latest hit. Back-breaking, physical labor is a thing of the past. Mechanized agriculture, guided and supported by government (socialism), has been super successful during the last 100-150 years.

But there is more to it: mankind, in his inventiveness, has virtually lifted the curse God pronounced upon the first man, Adam: “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:17-19). Today, the “thorns and thistles” have been virtually eliminated and man no longer earns his bread under such conditions. But the last sentence still stands, “for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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