IoT Technology in Agriculture
To meet the demand of the world’s population of 9.7 billion by 2050, the UN food and agriculture organisation outlined that the world will need to produce 70% more food to the world. This increase warrants the need for the agriculture sector to improve its overall production, which requires a look at adopting new innovative techniques to help aid farmers in adopting IoT systems.
One of the issues we are seeing today is the limited availability of natural resources such as fresh water and arable land which represents a big challenge. Another problem we see today is the decline in the agricultural workforce behind the operations, as more farmers are looking to adopt smarter solutions to help fill in the gaps in manual labour.
All of this constitutes the need for an IoT solution that can track, advise and change the outcome of the agricultural landscape to help overcome the difficult challenges we see today but also to prepare for the growing needs of tomorrow.
How can IoT Techniques Improve Farming Processes?
IoT solutions are developed to help farmers close the supply chain gap and increase productivity and the overall output of crop yields whilst increasing profitability and protection of the environment. The use of IoT technology ensures that the use of valuable resources is being used to achieve high crop yields, whilst reducing operational costs.
IoT in agriculture may consist of specialised equipment like wireless sensors, software and general IT solutions to help capture the relevant data needed to make informative decisions to boost the overall output of crops.
Business Insider in 2018 outlined that they expect IoT device installations in the agriculture sector to increase from 30 million in 2015 to 75 million in 2020.
They go on to mention that this will increase year on year by 20% as the need for smart farming becomes widely used in the market, which means the smart agriculture market will triple by 2025, reaching $15.3 billion compared with $5 billion back in 2016.
How is IoT-based Smart Agriculture Helpful?
The use of IoT smart agriculture technologies enables farmers to use data driven techniques to help reduce waste, increase productivity whilst reducing utilization of resources used on fields which eases the use of water, gas and electricity needed on conventional farms we see today.
IoT systems that are developed for farming are built prominently for monitoring and even be used to change the environment remotely so you do not have to worry about how your time is used onsite.
List of Smart Farming Sensors:
With this, farmers can interact with their crops remotely or setup automations to help look after large sections of their land without being present, which ultimately leads to the total management of one’s farm being accessible from anywhere in the world.
Automations with Smart Agriculture
Enhanced automations with smart agriculture help farmers do more without the constant presence of being onsite to monitor each crop. This is especially important as land around the farm is big and needs a big presence to help monitor its progress.
Setting up these automations will notify or make changes in conjunction with your setup as one example shows that if sensors indicate that soil moisture decreases, a farmer can setup a automation that starts the irrigation process to suit that particular situation.
As technology becomes more accessible due to the availability of options and the decrease of costs to acquire them, more and more features could be added to help these automations such as robotics, autonomous vehicles, drones, motion detectors, cameras and more. Farmers will be able to enjoy a more sophisticated setup to help improve their crops and get a better understanding of how their business is performing.
Smart performing analytics means that with more data coming in, more sophisticated automations and advice will be given to users in order to deliver the best solution needed for crop yields. With more information being acquired through machine learning, further advice on future planning is given as it can use API integrations for weather and previous data collected in seasonal changes to predict the best scenario needed for a farmer.
Predictive algorithms in smart farming systems will help shape a new era, moving farming into the 21st century as it culminates the use of technology, software and machine learning to manage your farm for you.
What are the Best Applications of the IoT in Agriculture?
Smart farming doesn’t leave farmers with the possibility of just tracking their crops but they can only use these IoT applications to check on the health of their cattle, which could aid users in the prevention of disease whilst lowering labour costs to look into these areas.
Smart greenhouses mean that IoT systems can monitor and adjust the climate to help benefit these areas without manual intervention indoors to avoid a disease outbreak, improve overall security and enhance fertilization practices.
The Future with IoT in Agriculture
With the benefit of controlling your farming from anywhere in the world, and the ability to capturing in real time the wellbeing of crops and cattle through a variety of smart farming technology, one can enjoy the long term cost saving benefits associated with producing more productivity out of one area than ever before.
As more IoT systems are introduced to farmers, more data will be shared with these systems to help determine the best outcome for each area, which ultimately increases agricultural production in a cost-effective way.