The precision farming secret you’re missing out on
Ever-increasing demand in a highly competitive sector pushes technology to the forefront for farmers. Knowing how a farm, and all the components that collectively make up its ecosystem, are functioning, developing and interacting at all times is more important than ever. We’ve seen how technology can positively impact agriculture, specifically autonomous equipment and bio-farming practices.
Currently, a stumbling block for many farmers is efficiently bringing all their technology, systems and devices together into one interconnected system. Having an interconnected farm would essentially help to reduce the time spent dealing with various vendors. It also helps to unlock the full value of a farm’s operations.
The benefits of smart agriculture far exceed any challenges that may present along the way. The ability to keep your farm in your pocket is invaluable to the innovation in the current landscape of farming.
What is smart agriculture?
Essentially, smart agriculture is the integration of the current farming landscape and the Internet of Things technology with the aim of offering high-precision crop control, useful data collection, and automated farming techniques. The concept is something that is very quickly catching on in the agricultural industry. This is because it offers farmers an abundance of benefits.
Never before have farmers had access to such extensive data visualisation that offers insights into things like crop yields, rainfall, pest infestation, and soil nutrition. An industry that relies so heavily on environmental conditions was always going to reap significant advantages from having insights into the overall health of networked farms.
It’s no secret that the Internet of Things is triumphantly changing the world. Therefore, why wouldn’t it do the same for the agriculture industry? Some even say that the application of IoT in agriculture could have the greatest impact compared to all relevant sectors.
Smart agriculture, or the third green revolution, is the implementation of drones and sensors that monitor the functionality and security of the farm in near real time, help to reduce waste and enhance productivity ranging from the quantity of fertilizer used to the number of journeys the farm’s vehicles make.
Use case – security for your farm
Why is smart agriculture so important?
It is predicted that by 2050, the global population will reach about 9.6 billion people with the current population sitting at 7.2 billion. Therefore, with a population increase of 2.4 billion people in just 30 years, things like sustainable food supply become absolutely crucial.
To feed those 9.6 billion mouths, the world’s farmers will need to grow about 70% more food than what is currently being produced. Currently, more than 60% of the world’s population depend on agriculture to survive. Therefore, there is an imminent demand for production increase.
IoT is the most efficient and important technique for the development of solutions. Therefore, the problems of the growing global population and climate change necessitates its application. The Internet of Things offers a pro-environmental solution. It also has the potential to boost organic and family farming beyond conventional farming practices and encourage transparency in farming.
IoT also plays a significant role in improving the quality and quantity of agricultural produce. This is done by integrating technology and equipment to aid in better management and assessment of natural resources like water, soil and climate.
Applications of smart agriculture
Precision farming is essentially the application of anything that increases the amount of control and accuracy that farmers have. Especially when it comes to raising livestock and growing crops. In this component of smart farming, sensors, control systems, robotics, autonomous vehicles, automated hardware and variable rate technologies are implemented. This is to encourage better and more precise management of these particular farming practices.
IoT is a critical enabler of precision farming as it helps farms to work better, not harder. Farmers are able to manage large fields as if they were much smaller. This is done by using precision practices to apply nutrients, seed, water and other agricultural inputs to grow more crop in a wide range of soil environments. This, naturally, helps to reduce the misapplication of products and increases crop and farm efficiency.
Essentially, the end game of precision farming is to improve agricultural yield and reduce potential environmental risks. Even the wrath of mother nature is challenged by IoT. Further benefits of precision farming include:
- Monitoring the soil and plants – achieved by placing sensors that provide data on electrical conductivity, temperature, radiation, nitrates, evapotranspiration and leaf and soil moisture;
- Gather real-time data – implementing sensors allows for the continuous monitoring of specific parameters and will offer real-time data ensuring an updated status of the field and plant parameters at all times;
- Provide better insights into decision making;
- Reduce wastage and costs;
- Provide better records for sales and succession;
- Precision technologies can be integrated with farm management software to increase the ease of activities and improve farm productivity.
IoT enables farmers to monitor and manage the location and health of their livestock. Wireless IoT applications that collect these data help farmers be aware of when their animals are sick. This is so they can separate them to prevent the spread of disease. It also reduces labour as farms are able to locate their livestock at all times.
In terms of the health of livestock, sensors allow farmers to monitor the heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, temperature, digestion and other vitals. Therefore, as soon as an animal’s temperature spikes or blood pressure drops, farmers are able to take action even before external symptoms start to show. Having this kind of insight means that sick animals can be separated from the herd before the sickness spreads. They can also be cared for before their condition worsens. Wearable sensors also help farmers identify any feeding problems before they significantly impact the herd’s health.
IoT solutions can also monitor livestock reproductive cycles and the calving process to promote safer and more successful outcomes. Plus, the ability to track the location of livestock means that farms can keep tabs on sick animals. They can also establish and optimise grazing patterns.
Use case – livestock tracking for your farm
Believe it or not, agriculture is one of the major industries to incorporate drones. This is because they are just another way to enhance various agricultural practices. Ground- and aerial-based drones are being used for the monitoring of crop health, irrigation, crop spraying, planting, and soil and field analysis. Drones have the potential to give the agriculture industry a complete digital makeover. This is because it enables farmers to base their strategy and planning on real-time data collection and processing.
The major benefits of agricultural drones include:
- Crop health imaging
- Integrated GIS mapping
- Ease of use
- The potential to increase yields
Greenhouse farming is what helps with enhancing the yield of vegetables, fruits and crops. An IoT greenhouse is designed to monitor and control climate to eliminate the need for manual intervention, as well as measure and control the environmental parameters by creating a cloud server to remotely access the system when it is connecting to the internet using IoT. This also eliminates the need for manual monitoring.
This setup provides farmers with a cost-effective and optimal solution without the need for manual intervention. Essentially, the IoT greenhouse provides information on the light levels, pressure, humidity, and temperature. Sensors control the actuators automatically to open a window, turn on lights, control a heater, turn on a mister or turn on a fan, all controlled through a WiFi signal. Impressive, huh?
IoT.nxt – the smart platform for you
At IoT.nxt, we are a completely technology-agnostic team that offers a solution with rapid deployment. We will always work to make our product fit your needs, not the other way around. Our IoT platform can offer solutions for things like crop failure, livestock tracking, security, water pumps, precision, accurate data collection and making your everyday tasks, one hundred, no, one thousand times easier. We’ll help you work smarter, not harder. But don’t take our word for it. Here’s an example:
In a project last year, IoT.nxt aided in the development of a water pump that enabled:
- Remote monitoring of activity, showing data and analytics on pumps operation-wide, with no need to drive or walk to the pump station;
- Visibility into real-time, cloud-based data from anywhere on any mobile device;
- Remote adjustment of the various modes that pumps are operating on to improve and optimise performance;
- Remote monitoring, adjustment and control of water levels and the rate at which the levels change;
- Visibility of status levels of pumps on mobile phones or tablets;
- Remote access to pumps to reduce the need for technician callouts;
- Setting of proactive warning triggers for when water levels drop below the set thresholds;
- Proactive maintenance of all pumps, issuing automatic warnings to technicians;
- Conversion of existing pumps to smart devices with little to no disruption to operations by plugging into existing controllers and PLCs;
- Adherence to water management tables and maintenance of usage records for compliance purposes;
- Lower operational costs and improved efficiency.
IoT.nxt can help push your farm into the future and give you the resources you need to increase the production and efficiency of your operations. We know that you may be thinking you’ll have to wait for your pigs to start flying before you can meet a production increase of 70%, but day by day and step by step, a partnership with us will get you there. IoT.nxt will put your farm right into your pocket so you can feel the flexibility and control of your connected farm. Come and see for yourself.