How will we feed the world population by the year 2050? The United Nations projects that by 2050 the world population will have risen to 9.7 billion people—more than 2 billion more people than today! To feed everyone, we will need a lot more food, which makes agricultural technology incredibly important. Agricultural technology is the use of science, engineering, and technology to make agriculture (farming) better. This can mean a wide range of things, including preventing plant diseases, gathering data to optimize crop yield (the amount of food you can grow on a piece of land), using resources like water more effectively, or even creating more nutritious versions of a vegetable!
Try one of the projects below to explore some of the solutions farmers, researchers, and engineers are trying around the world. Maybe you'll be working alongside them one day making sure we can feed everyone.
When you go to the supermarket, how do you pick out ripe fruits and vegetables? You might look at their size or color, or feel them for firmness. That might be easy to do when you pick out a half dozen apples, but imagine if you had to examine thousands of apples growing in a field, or strawberries coming down a conveyor belt getting ready for packaging. Suddenly, it is a lot harder to do yourself! What if a machine could pick and sort the produce for you? In this project, you will address part…
How are we going to feed the more than 9 billion people that will live on Earth by 2050? This is a major question for farmers, ranchers, and food scientists around the globe. It's a big problem, considering that from 2017 to 2050 we will be adding 1.5 billion people and need 20% more food. Linked to this problem of producing enough food is having enough land, water, and other natural resources to make that happen. The final solution will surely be made up of many different approaches working…
Do you or your family have a lawn, garden, or potted plants that you water regularly? Irrigation—or the artificial application of water to plants and landscaping—accounts for over two-thirds of the world's freshwater consumption (U.S. Geological Survey, 2016)! While that total includes farms, in the United States landscape irrigation still accounts for almost one-third of residential water use. As much as half of that water is wasted due to inefficient watering methods (WaterSense,…
Wondering what sustainable, high-producing agriculture might look like? This science project explores how analyzing bird's-eye-view pictures of a field can make farmers aware of variations in their fields. Farmers can use this information to optimize their farming practices, or even feed this information to high-tech agricultural equipment so the machines can automatically adjust their actions (like fertilizing or watering) to the needs of a piece of land.
Can you imagine Valentine's Day or Halloween without chocolate? Well, if you're a chocolate lover
brace yourself for the bad news. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), "Worldwide
demand for cacao now exceeds production." If there isn't enough cacao, the major raw ingredient for
chocolate, then the chocolate supply will dwindle. Hang on! Before you start rushing to the store to buy
all the chocolate you can get your hands on, a solution is already in the works. In…
Farmers face a variety of challenges in their efforts to grow crops. One of the chief challenges is the presence of unwanted plants (weeds) that compete with the crop plants for water, nutrients, and light. If the weeds are not suppressed, they can reduce or completely eliminate the amount of food derived from the crop at harvest. In this biotechnology and plant science fair project, you will simulate the competition between crop plants and weeds, and determine whether the use of an herbicide,…
Farmers are constantly battling various types of weeds that compete with the crops they are trying to grow. One of the tools they use to combat unwanted plants is a chemical called glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, a widely used weed killer. In this plant biology science fair project, you will explore the factors that affect the activity of glyphosate.