What Is IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects “things” that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.

With the growing adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT), connected devices have penetrated every aspect of our life, from health and fitness, home automation, automotive and logistics, to smart cities and industrial IoT.

Thus, it is only logical that IoT, connected devices, and automation would find its application in agriculture, and as such, tremendously improve nearly every facet of it. How could one still rely on horses and plows when self-driving cars and virtual reality are no longer a sci-fi fantasy but an everyday occurrence?

Farming has seen a number of technological transformations in the last decades, becoming more industrialized and technology-driven. By using various smart agriculture gadgets, farmers have gained better control over the process of raising livestock and growing crops, making it more predictable and improving its efficiency.

smart farming

What is Smart Agriculture?

By using IoT sensors to collect environmental and machine metrics, farmers can make informed decisions, and improve just about every aspect of their work – from livestock to crop farming.

For example, by using smart agriculture sensors to monitor the state of crops, farmers can define exactly how many pesticides and fertilizers they have to use to reach optimal efficiency. The same applies to the smart farming definition.

Ways IoT can improve agriculture:

  • Data collected by smart agriculture sensors

e.g. weather conditions, soil quality, crop’s growth progress or cattle’s health. This data can be used to track the state of your business in general as well as staff performance and equipment efficiency.

  • Better control over the internal processes and, as a result, lower production risks

The ability to foresee the output of your production allows you to plan for better product distribution. If you know exactly how much crops you are going to harvest, you can make sure your product won’t lie around unsold.

  • Cost management and waste reduction thanks to the increased control over the production

Being able to see any anomalies in the crop growth or livestock health, you will be able to mitigate the risks of losing your yield.

  • Increased business efficiency through process automation.

with the use of smart devices, you can automate multiple processes across your production cycle, e.g. irrigation, fertilizing, or pest control.

  • Enhanced product quality and volumes.

Achieve better control over the production process and maintain higher standards of crop quality and growth capacity through automation.

Use of IoT in Agriculture

There are many types of IoT sensors for agriculture as well as IoT applications in agriculture in general:

  • Monitoring of climate conditions

Probably the most popular smart agriculture gadgets are weather stations, combining various smart farming sensors located across the field. They collect various data from the environment and send it to the cloud. The provided measurements can be used to map the climate conditions, choose the appropriate crops, and take the required measures to improve their capacity (i.e. precision farming).

  • Greenhouse automation

The use of IoT sensors enable them to get accurate real-time information on Greenhouse conditions such as lighting, temperature, soil condition, and humidity. In addition to sourcing environmental data, weather stations can automatically adjust the conditions to match the given parameters. Specifically, greenhouse automation systems use a similar principle.

  • Crop management

One more type of IoT product in agriculture and another element of precision farming are crop management devices. Just like weather stations, they should be placed in the field to collect data specific to crop farming; from temperature and precipitation to leaf water potential and overall crop health. Thus, you can monitor your crop growth and any anomalies to effectively prevent any diseases or infestations that can harm your yield.

  • Cattle monitoring and management

Just like crop monitoring, there are IoT agriculture sensors that can be attached to the animals on a farm to monitor their health and log performance. Livestock tracking and monitoring help collect data on stock health, well-being, and physical location

  • Precision farming

Precision farming is all about efficiency and making accurate data-driven decisions. It’s also one of the most widespread and effective applications of IoT in agriculture. By using IoT sensors, farmers can collect a vast array of metrics on every facet of the field microclimate and ecosystem: lighting, temperature, soil condition, humidity, CO2 levels, and pest infections. This data enables farmer to estimate optimal amounts of water, fertilizers, and pesticides that their crops need, reduce expenses, and raise better and healthier crops.

  • Agricultural drones

One of the most promising Agro-tech advancements is the use of agricultural drones in smart farming. Also known as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), drones are better equipped than airplanes and satellites to collect agricultural data. Apart from surveillance capabilities, drones can also perform a vast number of tasks that previously required human labor: planting crops, fighting pests and infections, agriculture spraying, crop monitoring, etc.

  • Predictive analytics for smart farming

Precision agriculture and predictive data analytics go hand in hand. While IoT and smart sensor technology are a goldmine for highly relevant real-time data, the use of data analytics helps farmers make sense of it and come up with important predictions: crop harvesting time, the risks of diseases and infestations, yield volume, etc. Data analytics tools help make farming, which is inherently highly dependent on weather conditions, more manageable, and predictable.

  • End-to-end farm management systems

A more complex approach to IoT products in agriculture can be represented by the so-called farm productivity management systems. They usually include a number of agriculture IoT devices and sensors, installed on the premises as well as a powerful dashboard with analytical capabilities and in-built accounting/reporting features.

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