Undoubtedly, high demands for food from the world-wide growing population are impacting the environment and putting many pressures on agricultural productivity. Agriculture 4.0, as the fourth evolution in the farming technology, puts forward four essential requirements: increasing productivity, allocating resources reasonably, adapting to climate change, and avoiding food waste. As advanced information systems and Internet technologies are adopted in Agriculture 4.0, enormous farming data, such as meteorological information, soil conditions, marketing demands, and land uses, can be collected, analyzed, and processed for assisting farmers in making appropriate decisions and obtaining higher profits. Therefore, agricultural decision support systems for Agriculture 4.0 has become a very attractive topic for the research community. The objective of this paper aims at exploring the upcoming challenges of employing agricultural decision support systems in Agriculture 4.0. Future researchers may improve the decision support systems by overcoming these detected challenges. In this paper, the systematic literature review technique is used to survey thirteen representative decision support systems, including their applications for agricultural mission planning, water resources management, climate change adaptation, and food waste control. Each decision support system is analyzed under a systematic manner. A comprehensive evaluation is conducted from the aspects of interoperability, scalability, accessibility, usability, etc. Based on the evaluation result, upcoming challenges are detected and summarized, suggesting the development trends and demonstrating potential improvements for future research.
Human beings have cultivated lands and breed animals to obtain food for their survival since ancient times. This practice, known as agriculture, has evolved following a long-term and progressive process (Tekinerdogan, 2018), going from Agriculture 1.0 to 4.0, as shown in Fig. 1. In Fig. 1, Agriculture 1.0 refers to the traditional agricultural era, mainly replying on the manpower and animal forces. In this stage, though simple tools like sickles and shovels were used in agricultural activities, humans still cannot get rid of heavy manual labor, so productivity remained at a low level. Until the 19th century, steam engines were improved and widely used to provide new powers in all walks of life and industries, including agriculture. It came to the era of Agriculture 2.0 when various agricultural machineries were operated by farmers manually and plenty of chemicals were used. Obviously, Agriculture 2.0 significantly increased the efficiency and productivity of farm works. Nevertheless, this substantial improvement brought too harmful consequences: field chemical contaminations, destruction of the ecological environment, excessive consumption of powers, and waste of natural resources.