Smart Farming and Precision Agriculture using IoT
Nowadays any object can be part of the IoT ecosystem for Smart Home, Smart Farming or Healthcare. As long as it is connected to an Internet network by an electronic chip, a sensor, or other network connectivity. Communication protocols such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Wi-Fi, Nb IOT, etc. allows to communicate with other connected objects, collect and exchange data.
The IoT is thus poised to establish itself as a revolution in the agricultural sector. The market for M2M in agriculture is expected to reach 20+ billion US dollars by 2024. By 2022, experts estimate that around 14 billion devices.
Definitely, IoT technologies are most actively used in field agriculture when growing grain crops. It is called Precision farming — crop productivity management taking into account changes in the plant habitat. Ultimately, this makes it possible to solve two main tasks of agricultural producers — increasing yields and reducing costs. However, such innovations are only gaining popularity so far. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), on average, the level of use of the same precision farming technologies in this country ranges from 30% to 50%, depending on the region. And this, we note, is one of the leading countries in the use of IT technologies in various industries.
IoT in Agriculture
Smart Farming and Precision agriculture are an essential development lever for the agriculture of tomorrow. Indispensable and essential, when we know that in 2025, more than 8 billion inhabitants will have to be fed in the context of dwindling agricultural labor.
Indeed, the IoT now enables farmers to increase their operational efficiency farms by automating and optimizing production chains. Thanks to these new technologies, the manager of a farming operation can now control his machines remotely via a guidance system at mobile or web application. It can also monitor the machine park and detect the slightest errors.
The IoT presents many solutions for the agriculture of tomorrow. Some examples:
- Management of the quantity and composition of inputs according to the nature of the soil, climatic conditions, and the condition of the plant: equipped farms see savings of 15 to 20% on raw materials thanks to better exploitation of big data;
- Analysis of animal behavior in farms and monitoring of females during calving through sensors and computerized solutions;
- Automation of time-consuming tasks thanks to robotization (weeding, milking, etc.): agriculture is already the second largest service robotics market in France (Source: French Institute of Robotics);
- Collection and dissemination of information facilitating the daily management of farms: geographic information systems providing multi-source data (sensors, satellites, etc.), drones carrying multi-spectral sensors to detect plots lacking water or count the feet of plants.
Problems in modern farming
The agriculture sector is in the grip of a real paradox: despite a still traditional environment, advanced and often expensive technologies have always been very present there. Following in the midst of digital transformation, agriculture is gradually turning into “smart agriculture” whose watchword is data. As a result, data collection allows the sector to optimize its operations and increase its margins. Sensors now measure a number of parameters, such as the rate of irrigation of plots and the maturity of plantations. Once collected, this data is fed back to a management platform that allows their analysis and facilitates decision-making.
An environmental issue
Agriculture has a strong impact on the environment. Indeed, this sector not only requires huge amounts of water but also electricity, especially when it comes to livestock production. And in modern realities, agriculture, in turn, must pursue an environmental policy. In this regard, the number of farms using renewable energy sources has increased significantly over several years. This allows them to meet some of their needs. Self-consumption also has a lower impact on the environment: photovoltaic installations combine economic benefits and environmental responsibility for better resource management.
IoT helps to solve problems
IoT technologies can solve these agriculture problems in many ways.
Data that works for you
A huge array of data that can be collected using smart sensors: information on weather conditions, soil quality, crop growth progress, or livestock health. This data can be used both to track the health of your business as a whole and to evaluate the effectiveness of specific aspects: personnel, equipment, etc.
Control over the risks and internal processes
The advantage that the farmer gets is difficult to overestimate. This is a reduction in production risks. The ability to predict the volume of production allows the farmer to plan for the best distribution of the product. If he knows exactly how much harvest will be, he will be able to make sure that nothing is lost.
Cost management and waste reduction thanks to increased production control. By tracking any deviations in crop growth processes or livestock health, it is possible to reduce the risks of loss.
Automation and efficiency
Increasing business efficiency by automating processes in the production cycle: irrigation, fertilization, or plant protection products. For example, unmanned agricultural vehicles, according to a special program, are able to carry out both tillage and harvesting in automatic mode. Their use will automate almost the entire agricultural cycle. In this case, not only ground-based “drones” can be used, but also aerial vehicles. Armed with special cameras and highly sensitive sensors, they are able to inspect large fields in a short period of time.
Better control of production and support for higher quality standards and crop growth through automation.
However, for all this to work, other machines and units are needed. And it should be noted that their manufacturers are beginning to massively switch to the release of products that can become part of the IoT. The world’s leading companies operating in the field of agricultural machinery are already building their development strategies based on the need for digitization and automation of most agricultural processes.
The future of smart agriculture lies precisely with IoT platforms. CitrusDev team can make the right decisions on the development of agriculture solutions for your needs.
Smart farming applications are gaining ground with the promise of 24/7 monitoring of soil and crops, equipment performance, storage conditions, animal behavior, and energy consumption levels.
By combining various sensors, connected devices, and agricultural objects, the IoT platform optimizes the development of intelligent agricultural systems. Without a doubt is a huge benefit for companies that plan to steadily expand their ecosystems of IoT devices and introduce new smart farming solutions over time. Managing and modernizing multiple solutions on a single IoT platform delivers lean operations and predictable results.