With the exponentially growing advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT), connected devices have become an indispensable part of our everyday life. They have touched every aspect of our life – from health to logistics to smart cities – they are everywhere.
The agriculture sector does not remain untouched by the growing adoption of IoT and automation. And this adoption has tremendously enhanced many facets of the farming practice.
Farming has observed various technological transformations in the last couple of years and is becoming more technology-driven. In this article, we are going to explore the impact of IoT in agriculture and smart farming.
Before jumping on the impacts and benefits, let’s first find out what smart farming is.
Smart farming is an emerging topic and is a practice of managing farms with modern technologies to increase the quantity and quality of crops produced.
Some of the standard technologies contributing to smart farming include sensors and actuators, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, and Drones to get the desired efficiencies of production with optimized cost.
Benefits Of IoT In Smart Farming
Here are some of the benefits of opting for IoT in agriculture. More than benefits, these act as solutions for the various problems occurring in the agriculture sector.
- Enhanced efficiency
Farmers have to grow more crops while dealing with deteriorating soil, declining land availability, and increasing weather fluctuations. With the help of IoT, farmers can predict such issues and monitor the conditions in real-time.
- Reduced resources
A majority of the IoT solutions for agriculture aim to optimize the use of resources such as water, energy, and land. Precision farming is done with IoT’s help by collecting data from various sensors, which helps the farmers allocate resources accordingly.
- Cleaner process
Apart from helping the farmers save water and energy, IoT-based systems have also made farming greener. It has significantly brought down the need for using pesticides and fertilizers. Farming has become more cleaner with more organic final products.
Increased agility is one of the most prominent benefits associated with using IoT in the agricultural sector. With the help of real-time monitoring systems, farmers can make better decisions regarding a change in weather, humidity, the crop’s health, etc. In case of extreme weather conditions, new capabilities are helping farmers save the crops.
It’s time to ponder over some of the real-time applications of IoT in agriculture. Without any ado, let’s get started.
Applications Of IoT In Agriculture
- Climate Conditions
We all know the impact of climate and weather when it comes to farming. Incorrect or improper knowledge about climate heavily impacts the quality and quantity of the crop. However, with the help of IoT, farmers can get real-time weather conditions. By putting sensors inside and outside the fields, they can collect data from the environment.
Moreover, it also eliminates the need to be physically present in the field in disturbing climatic conditions, which will eventually enhance the farmers’ productivity.
- Precision Farming
Precision Farming indicates a process or practice of making farming methods more accurate and controlled when it comes to raising livestock and growing crops. With the help of tools such as autonomous vehicles, automated hardware, control systems, robotics, etc., precision farming is gaining extreme popularity across the world. In recent years, precision farming has become one of the most adopted applications of IoT in the farming sector. More and more organizations are investing in this domain to come up with more innovative ideas.
Some of the services offered by IoT systems are soil moisture probes, VRI optimization, virtual optimizer PRO, etc. Wondering what VRI optimization is? VRI (Variable Rate Irrigation) optimization is a process that optimizes the profitability in irrigated crop fields with soil variability.
- Data Analytics
The traditional database systems are incapable of storing the data collected through IoT sensors. With the help of cloud-based data storage platforms and IoT, agriculture has enhanced significantly. The data collected from these sensors is analyzed and converted into useful information through analytics tools. This analysis helps in gaining insights into weather conditions, livestock conditions, and crop conditions. Predictive analysis will also help farmers in making better decisions related to the harvesting of crops.
- Smart Greenhouses
Greenhouse farming is a technique that helps in increasing the yield of vegetables, fruits, crops, etc. This method controls the environmental parameters through manual intervention. Due to manual intervention, there is unavoidable production loss, energy loss, and labor costs.
A smart greenhouse, on the other hand, is built using IoT. It will intelligently monitor as well as control the climate through different sensors. These sensors measure the environmental parameters based on the plant requirement. A cloud server is created to collect data and remotely access the system in real-time.
The sensors present in the smart greenhouses gather data on light levels, pressure, humidity, and temperature. Moreover, these can also control the actuators to automatically open a window, turn on lights or fans, manage the heater – all through a Wi-Fi signal.
- Cattle monitoring and management
Just like IoT-based systems are capable of monitoring the crops, they can also monitor animals’ health and log performance on your farm. Livestock tracking helps the farmers gain data related to the physical location, well-being, and health of their cattle.
IoT systems can quickly identify sick animals so that agriculturists can isolate them from the healthy ones and prevent contamination. Drones are being used to track and monitor the livestock in real-time – thereby saving staff costs.
The agriculture sector is amongst the significant sectors to incorporate drones. These drones are equipped with sensors and cameras for imaging, mapping, and surveying the farms. There are two types of drones used in the agriculture sector – ground-based drones and aerial drones.
With the help of data and insights collected from drones, farmers can check the crop health, irrigation, spraying, planting, and yield predictions. These drones can be operated remotely, or they can fly automatically through software-controlled plans embedded in their systems.
To find the top applications of IoT in practice in top companies, read here.
As the agricultural resources are getting limited, the need to implement smart solutions has become a need of the hour. More and more farmers and agriculturists are adopting IoT-based systems to make their farming smarter and more profitable.
If you have a fantastic idea for a smart system in the agriculture domain, you can contact an IoT development company to turn it into reality.
James Grills is currently associated with Cumulations Technologies, a ReactJs Development company. He is a technical writer with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in mobile application development and IoT technology.