Reportlinker Review is a series of posts featuring Innovations, Social and Economic Megatrends to understand the World of Tomorrow. Each post is illustrated with statistics for one industry.
Reportlinker’s Agricultural Robots Industry Review in a nutshell
- Robots perform a variety of specialized tasks
- Knowledge is key to farmers adopting new technologies
- Robots’ use affects agrochemical market
The agricultural robotics market will reach $73.9 billion by 2024, Reportlinker says. Growth will be rapid over the next five years compared to the past. In 2015, the market was valued at $3 billion and is expected to reach $16.8 billion by 2021.
Growth in the market is driven by changes in the agricultural industry, climate change, population increases and the cost of labor.
Robots are used for tasks formerly performed by farm hands such as harvesting, materials handling, milking cows, pruning, seeding, spraying, sorting, and weeding.
They also are used for more specialized tasks such as minimizing environmental impact, identifying diseases, creating maps and soil management.
Proponents of agricultural robots point out that robots save time and money while increasing productivity. Critics say robots will increase unemployment, especially in developing nations where manual labor is still very common.
Hundreds of uses are available to farmers, yet most farmers are unaware of the tools. Initiatives and conferences have been designed to increase farmers’ knowledge of emerging technology.
“We have evaluated paper-based, software-based, and app-based tools and found that although farmers and their advisors are prepared to use these tools, few seem to have been designed with knowledge of the end user and their requirements,” Dr. David Rose, of the Department of Geography at University of Cambridge, told Robotics and Automation News.
Trust is also an issue as many robots are unreliable and must be run by a skilled technician.
Japan is leading the way in market growth. The nation is the world’s largest robotics manufacturer and the largest market for agricultural robots. Two companies, Iseki & Co. and Kubota Corp., sell their robots globally.
Many farms in Japan are completely run by robots. By size, however, Australia and North America are the largest consumers of agricultural robots.
Weeding tools and tractor-pulled robots are the most popular.
Agricultural Robots’ Related Industries
As agricultural robots change the way the average farm operates, related industries also must adapt.
The agrochemicals market in particular will be affected. The use of robots changes the types of chemicals crops need and the amount.
Technological updates mean farmers can track crops on an individual plant basis, applying chemicals only when and where they are needed. The market will need to change from broad herbicides to specific, niche varieties.
The agrochemicals market already is in a state of flux. The market size has shrunk while the increase of generics, most manufactured in China, have causes prices to fall.
Key Statistics – Global Agricultural Robots Market
- Over the period 2014-2019, the agricultural-robots market is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 11% globally. (source: Technavio)
- In 2013, the agricultural-robot market was valued at $817 million. By 2020, it is forecasted to reach $16.3 billion. (source: WinterGreen Research)
- By 2024, the market is forecasted to reach $73.9 billion. (source: Tractica)