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Boost Your Farm’s Yields with IoT-Enabled Smart Farming

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The Internet of Things represents a smarter way of organizing many spheres of our lives. Data-driven technology and automation bring total control over the processes that go on in production facilities, hospitals, offices, schools, and our homes.

But there is one sphere sometimes overlooked when we are talking about IoT — agriculture. Let’s see how technology helps farmers refine the production process while ensuring top quality.

Agriculture Is Struggling With Food Supply

This planet’s resources are not infinite. With the world population continuing to grow, food production globally may struggle to keep pace with demand.

According to The Guardian, back in 2011, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization concluded that farmers would have to produce 70% more food by 2050 to meet the needs of a growing population.

With time, soil used for agriculture becomes degraded and less productive for future crops. Farmers need to be cautious about using their resources effectively and sustainably.

Producers must find ways to use their fields, greenhouses and pasture lands in a way that maintains high quality and high yield while ensuring that future food production capability is protected. Advanced Internet of Things technology can help.

Smart Farming Is the Answer

Agriculture today is adopting the Internet of Things technology to help cut costs, boost production efficiency, and figure out ways of using less to get more.

As Dairy Global states, more than 2 million farms are expected to be IoT connected by 2024. But what does the “connected farm” actually mean?

A Connected, or Smart, Farm is a farm managed with modern Information and communication technologies for the sake of increasing quantity and quality of products and optimizing the production process.

A fully equipped Smart Farm is expected to have the following set of technologies:

  • Sensors: devices that track soil quality, temperature, water, pressure, and humidity;
  • Software: solutions that are used to run the smart farm; 
  • Connectivity: cellular, LoRa (long-range wide-area network), etc.
  • Location: with the help of GPS, farmers can track the location of their equipment, livestock, or packaged products;
  • Robotics: modernized tractors, completely autonomous processing equipment;
  • Data analytics: various types of analytics present data collected from IoT devices, analyze it, and participate in strategic decision-making.

The Smart Farm Work Cycle

On the surface, a Smart Farm operates just like any other farm. But inside, there’s more advanced stuff happening. The workflow involves a cycle of collecting, processing and acting on data. 

IoT-powered devices collect data that was previously inaccessible to farmers, allowing them to work more precisely, make better decisions, and have a clear picture of everything happening on the farm.

The IoT-enabled farming cycle goes like this:

  • Observation. The first step involves using IoT tech to gather a vast range of data from various sources, such as the soil, crops, livestock, or the atmosphere. Everything that might have an impact on the farm is tracked: temperature, acidity, pressure, humidity, cattle location, equipment condition, CO2 levels, etc;
  • Diagnostics. Next, the data is analyzed. Four types of data analytics are applied to the data to identify trends and patterns and help find the root of any issue;
  • Decision-making. Based on data analysis from the previous step, the IoT system uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to come up with the best solution to a problem. Or, more simply, the IoT software presents analyzed data to the farmer and he or she decides how to address the issue;
  • Implementation. Having gathered detailed information about the issue, its nature and ways to resolve it, suitable measures are taken to solve the problem and boost overall farm efficiency. 

To get a better idea of how the cycle works, imagine the following situation. 

The farmer is having trouble with poor crop yields. To understand the issue, the farmer uses IoT sensors to study the soil. 

The data from the sensors is analyzed, and the system concludes the soil is not suitable for particular types of crops. The system then studies the various fields and determines which offer the best conditions for each potential crop.

Application of the IoT in Agriculture

Here’s a more detailed look at where the Internet of Things can be applied in agriculture to bring the most value to farmers.

When it comes to agriculture, we can review the implementation of IoT solutions from two perspectives: 

  • Precision farming — precision farming aims at figuring out the best ways to make farming decisions in a way that is controlled, effective and accurate;
  • Farming automation — the purpose of automation is to minimize human participation in labor, leaving the hardest work to machines. 

Precision Farming

Smart-farming solutions that can help farmers make the most of their resources include various sensors, wearables, drones, and IoT-enabled tractors and harvesters.

Dmitry Sokolovski
Project Manager
at HQSoftware

We have developed an IoT software solution for real-time soil composition analysis. Raspberry Pi based sensors were gathering data from soil: structure, acid levels, chemical composition — 35 parametres in total. The Android application aggregated the information from nearly 2 million data points daily. The data was presented right on the field interactive map, making it very easy to study. Using the info on soil analysis, the farmers were able to find the best-fitting condition for particular types of crops.

Using connected smart machines, farmers can gain valuable insights into every process involved in crop production and track their progress. Large amounts of data gathered through IoT allow farmers to study various factors and apply new approaches to production.

Precision Livestock Farming

Cattle ranching can also be optimized with IoT technologies. Internet of Things devices allow each animal to be monitored and tracked individually, for health conditions as well as location.

To optimize beef production, the farmer can adjust the nutrition of each animal individually, as well as monitor the well-being of the animals and identify potential disease outbreaks.

This will help by allowing sick animals to be separated from the herd before the problem has a chance to spread, so as to treat the animal before its condition worsens. This helps farmers cut expenses on vets and regular checkups.

Want to build an agricultural IoT solution?

Our pofessional development team is ready to build your project.

Aleksandra Golik
Head of Sales
at HQSoftware

Farming Automation

 

 

Smart Farming 101

IoT agriculture projects have what it takes to provide productive, accurate and precise information that helps farmers ensure consistent yields and sustainable production. IoT applications in agriculture are a conscious solution to the emerging global food crisis, hitting all points: producing high-yield, high-quality products while decreasing the negative human impact on nature.

 

Read also

Личное: How IoT Refines Agriculture

Boost Your Manufacturing Process with IoT! Here’s What You’ll Get

5 Business Activities You Should Not Automate — At Least Not Fully

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