Researchers down in australia have created a farming system that I think is the direction that farming ought to go - and probably will go. It's a robotic weeder.
The basic idea I'd like to see implemented is a lightweight robot - think 50 to 100lbs - that can find its way to the field, and then back from the field to its charging station. each robot would trundle out and spend its battery time eradicating weeds, and then go back and get charged.
These things should be as cheap as possible. Rugged enough to last 10 or 15 years; I was looking at new tractors the other day, and some of them run upwards of $300,000.00 - I'd like to see one of these robot weeders at $2,000 or less -- so you could buy 150 of these units for about the same price as your tractor. Make 'em modular, so when some part breaks you unplug it and put on a replacement part, and cheap enough that you stamp your foot when the bull pushes it into the ditch, but you don't cry or call the insurance company.
The best part about these robots is that they can be run on solar, and they eliminate or greatly reduce the use of herbicides. Heck, with better vision the robot could probably pick bugs off the plants, too...
The goal here is to take the task that we current either use chemicals to solve, or use hand-labor at minimum wage, and automate it. these little guys can bet out all day every day, rain or shine, and in theory produce crops that are pesticide and herbicide free.
To see what I'm talking about, check out this youtube video
4 weeks ago