IoT in agriculture: Is Smart Farming the future?

IoT in agriculture: Is Smart Farming the future?

It seems that everything happening today is somehow touched by the IoT or Internet of Things. It changes the way products are produced, marketed, and consumed. Much of the IoT conversation has focused on the transformation of industries such as manufacturing, petrochemicals, and medicine, but an industry that has already been widely embraced by IoT technology is often overlooked: ‘Agriculture.

Many of us familiar with the efforts to optimize food production. As populations grow, there has been a serious and sustained effort to increase crop yields on our available land.

We already Discussed how IoT can impact industries. Revolutionary agriculture based on technology and science recently applied in the field of agriculture is intelligent agriculture. It is a network of complementary and interdisciplinary facilities and technologies. Technologies such as Big Data, the Internet of Things, machine learning, cloud computing, and analytics are being applied to agriculture to help farmers better understand the results of their actions and make better decisions enlightened on the practices of agriculture.

Problems in traditional agriculture:

Agriculture is deteriorating every year with:

  • Bad seeds
  • Natural calamities
  • Lack of water and agricultural machinery
  • Lack of financial help

All of this leads to insufficient or excessive production which causes loss in health of plants, and in turn in crop yields. 

Smart farming:

The main application of IoT in agriculture is intelligent agriculture, which uses analytical technology. It helps to overcome agricultural gaps and control the supply chain, provides forecasting information, real-time decision-making, and business model development. These are specialized management information systems for:

  • Crop yield, crop population
  • Fungal patches
  • Weed patches
  • Texture and soil condition
  • Soil moisture and nutrients
  • Weather conditions
  • Precipitation and temperature
  • Humidity and wind speed

The advantage of smart farming with internet of things is not limited to improving farming only. Application of IoT technologies has a significant impact on providing projective information on agricultural operations and practices, helping to redefine business models and providing real-time decisions, thus significantly influencing the entire spectrum of the farming cycle. Data Analytics offers a great opportunity to dramatically improve the initial cost of producing a production report, optimizing or reducing input usage, improving product performance, providing timely advice for needed actions, and more.

While it is surprising that the agricultural sector is a technological innovator, it is important to consider how agriculture is, in many ways, an ideal tested for new technologies.

Benefits of using IoT in agriculture are listed below:

1. Ease of deployment

Unlike other industries, deploying sensors and other devices connected to a farm can be relatively simple and cost-effective. In a heavy industrial environment such as a plant or refinery, new technologies must replace old technologies integrated into the production. There are concerns about downtime and lost revenue, and the desire to find the right products or mix of products to integrate into their existing technology ecosystem.

2. Instantaneous value

Another reason why agriculture provides such a fertile benchmark for IoT technology is the speed with which value and return on investment can be realized. Pre-existing precision agriculture metrics can be applied more easily, maximizing the already known benefits of practices. Farmers have also been successful in naturally and safely controlling pests through the intelligent release of pheromones.

3. Continuous value

In agricultural IoT deployments, the same practices offering instant value will continue to be useful as long as they are used. Water conservation and waste reduction provide repeated value, as well as the increased yield generated by precision farming. There are also opportunities to improve the equipment that farmers use daily. A combine harvester or connected tractor can record useful information about its operation and maintenance. It can also optimize and automate some processes.

4. Better monitoring and control:

Satellite monitoring, integrated field, and IoT sensors , fertilizer demand reports, wind direction forecasts, pest warnings, water cycles, tractors with GPS technology, and many other facilities are an important source of data for improving better farming methods. As IoT is primarily based on sensors, Monitoring of nutrient requirements and growth rates per plant are also made possible by the application of IoT technologies. It also allow farmers to decide which crop to plant for the next harvest based on available data, such as information on water availability, soil health, monsoon forecasts, etc.

5. Marketing Advantages

Now that consumers want to know the source of food and how it is produced, processed, and packaged, the supply chain of the entire agricultural sector must be transparent. IoT that provide efficient and strategic farming solutions including the use of application-based data mining and generation, cloud data storage, machine learning, real-time data visualization.This whole process can also be optimized by using computer vision techniques with IoT based agricultural sensors.

Use of IoT makes it possible to predict production, manage risk, maximize quality and increase sustainability for agricultural enterprises.

IoT Sensors in Agriculture

Soil moisture Sensor:

An apparatus used to measure percentage moisture content in any soil type is a soil moisture meter. It is an essential device to use in the field of agriculture. Such a device can measure moisture content of the soil, and water consumption by a specific crop field or plant can be measured based on that data which assures the healthy growth of plant.

Optical sensors:

Optical sensors are used worldwide in different environments and applications in farming. They are defined as devices capable of measuring physical parameters through the effects applied to the fiber and the passage of light there through.

Basically, fiber optic sensors are used most often to measure physical properties such as deformation and pressure In terms of applications, they are frequently used to monitor the health of structures providing real-time measurements of forces applied to a farm.

Electrochemical sensors

It provides the information required in precision farming: pH and soil nutrient levels. This Sensor electrodes detect specific ions in the soil. Currently, sensors mounted on specially designed “sleds” help collect, process, and map soil chemical data.

Mechanical sensors

It measures soil compaction or “strength.” These Sensors use a probe that enters the ground and records resistance forces using force sensors or strain gauges. A similar form of this technology is used on large tractors to predict the traction requirements of equipment in contact with the ground. Tensiometers, such as Honeywell FSG15N1A, detect the force used by roots to absorb water and are very useful for irrigation interventions.

Conclusion:

We all have heard the sound of drums declaring that the Internet of Things is the next big technological revolution. Use of IoT in agriculture will make production processes more efficient, reduce the consumption of waste and resources, improve customer service and provide a wide range of new products and services that will change the way we live and work.