Agricultural robots to see massive uptake in next six years

06 May 2019 2 min. read

A report from market research and consulting firm Tractica projects that agricultural robot shipments will reach 727,000 units per year globally by 2025

Agricultural robots - from driverless tractors to livestock robots to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) - promise  added productivity and efficiency from farmland as the sector faces labor shortages and changing weather conditions.

Automated tractors and robots have the ability to plant, prune, weed, and harvest, while specialized bots can shear sheep and milk livestock. Robots have even been developed for castrating livestock – truly a brave new world.

UAVs, meanwhile, can vastly enhance the productivity of agricultural land by accurately sensing irrigation problems, weed or pest infestations, or soil variation, allowing farmers to better assess and rectify their fields. Drones can also be used for spraying and cloud seeding.Agricultural robots to see massive uptake in next 6 yearsAccording to research from Tractica, a market research consultancy specializing in emerging technologies, the global agricultural robot (AgBot) market had a value of $7.5 billion in 2018, with 60,000 units sold. With improvements in performance and the price of sensors, electric motors, and drive controls, the firm projects that the AgBot market will expand rapidly over the next six years – with 727,000 units sold and a value of $87.9 billion in 2025.

Tractica’s valuation of the AgBot market is a quite a bit higher than that of Verified Market Research, which tagged the global market at $2.96 billion in 2018. Verified Market Research projects the AgBot market to reach $11.58 billion in 2026 – much lower than Tractica’s estimate. Verified Market Research expects the high investment cost of automated technology will keep many small farmers from shifting to AgBots; big agribusinesses, however, will be better able to eat the investment costs, provided the efficiency gains outstrip the costs.

In any case, Tractica projects that UAVs will top the purchase list of robots by category, followed by driverless tractors, material management robots, soil management robots, and dairy management robots.

Commenting on the report’s findings, senior analyst Glenn Sanders said, “Robots and automation technologies have the potential to dramatically improve crop quality and yields, reduce the amount of chemicals used, solve labor shortages, and provide hope for the economic sustainability of smaller farming operations.”

Related: Cimbria Consulting teams with drainage expert DIGS Associates