Farming isn’t a simple business anymore. Farmers are always under pressure to producing more food on fewer acres. They have to meet strict emission requirements and minimize their environmental footprints. They have to protect crops from various pests, keep tabs on climate and go by weather forecasts, control the amount of water flowing in lands, and monitor the entire crop spread in several square miles of areas. Above all, they have to keep track of their equipment, machinery, and storage.
So, there is a lot to do and, farmers cannot merely rely on their assumptions or basic techs to keep producing to feed an expanding global population.
Thankfully we now have IoT in action. The technology of IoT and IoT-enabled sensors have now all matured to help farmers in solving challenges they have been facing from hundreds of years.
Little Brief about IoT and its uses
IoT or ‘Internet of Things’ is all about connecting things through a wireless network so that they can remotely monitor, control, execute the assigned tasks. There are limitless opportunities that the IoT has introduced to the humanity, from a system closing curtains automatically after detecting more-than-required exposure of sunlight in a room to a simple, light socket that can be distantly controlled to provide or stop electricity to an appliance, to an IT infrastructure for a supply chain company for tracking all its products, pallets, containers, and transportation with precise Geo-location data, it is now ready to redefine the world as the internet did a few decades back.
IoT and farming
IoT is a sensor-based technology. Various sensors for measuring temperature, humidity, water quality, chemical changes, smoke, proximity, pressure, gas pressure etc are used to build an application.
Here are some examples explaining how IoT-enabled sensors are used to make a farmer’s life easier.
IoT monitoring the soil’s quality
Soil is the primary raw material in farming. The quality of soil supporting better crop-production entirely depends on moisture, temperatures, and its electrical conductivity. For several years, farmers have been relying on their assumptions and past experience to measure the quality of soil and producing corps. But this method often doesn’t return with the best results.
IoT-sensors can help farmers discover the actual moisture of the soil. Over dryness or wetness of soil can damage the crop. Data generated by sensors is sent to a system which analyzes it and then generates and reflects notifications on mobile devices. Going a step ahead, the data can be used to automate/control the water flow in lands.
An example of the similar system is presented by CropX. The company produces hardware and software systems helping farmers measure temperature, moisture, and electrical conductivity in the soil.
IoT fighting fires
Farmers are always worried about the safety of agriculture storage. There are several things that can put months of hard work at risk. Fire is key one of them. Silos and grain elevators, for example, are dangerous places. There are conveyor belts that are used by farmers to make their work simple. But they all are prone to catch fire.
IoT sensors can inform about hazards by tracking silos and grain elevators. Farmers can use these sensors to establish baseline performance norms and to create alerts and alarms for fire conditions caused by the increase in temperature.
IoT sensors making equipment smart
IoT can help farmers improve crop-flow, bring down the grain losses, and automatically optimize the performance of equipment. IoT sensors can power farmers to manage their entire holdings on a computer or mobile device. The system will collect data and use it in mapping field, fertilization planning, and several other operations that make farming easier.
IoT-Drone taking care of agriculture land
Farmers are also using IoT sensor enabled drones for surveying, mapping, and imaging their agricultural lands. Data collected from a drone can be used in doing many farming jobs including crop scouting, crop health monitoring, field surveying, plant stress monitoring, yield monitoring, drought assessment, and so on.
Also, these drones can also be programmed for specific field surveys. They collect visuals, thermal and multispectral imageries during the flight and can also land in the same place it took off.
PrecisionHawk is a software company in the USA that provides similar Drone and UAV remote sensing services for several industries including agriculture and construction.
Many farmers engaged in livestock breeding can also use IoT-sensors to collect data for location, well-being, and health of their cattle. With this information, farmers are able to do better livestock monitoring such as indentifying the sick animals so that they can be separated from others to avoid spreading a disease.
These sensors can also help farmers lower the cost of laboring. These IoT sensors, apart from locating cattle in ranches, can also observe if specific cows are pregnant or about to give birth or in heat and ready to fertilize.
So this is how IoT-sensors can help farmers in a number of ways. These sensors generate data. The data can control things that are responsible for better farming.
Sofia is a digital marketing expert in Rapidsoft Technologies which is a leading IT consulting company providing full range IT services including, IoT application development, Blockchain development, and big data app development solutions.