The Internet of Things (IoT) is now permeating nearly every facet of our lives, from health and fitness to home automation to transportation and logistics to smart cities and industrial IoT.
IoT, connected devices, and automation are logically applied to agriculture because they can greatly improve every industry aspect. When self-driving automobiles and virtual reality are no longer sci-fi fiction but a daily event, how could one still rely on horses and plows?
A number of technological advancements in farming have occurred during the past few decades, making the industry increasingly industrialized and technology-driven. Farmers have gained greater control over the process of rearing livestock and cultivating crops by using a variety of smart agriculture gear.
Because of this, as well as rising consumer demand for agricultural products, smart farming technologies are being more widely used around the world. In 2020, IoT in agriculture will account for $5.6 billion in market share.
In this post, we’ll investigate the advantages of IoT applications in agriculture. In other words, if you’re thinking about investing in smart farming or developing an IoT solution for agriculture.
Farm Yields Can Be Boosted by Using AgTech
The art of projecting farm yields has always been difficult, but seasoned growers know better than anyone that higher yields are the result of numerous agronomic factors:
Ideal conditions for the soil
Soil properties such as pH, water holding capacity, drainage rate, organic matter concentration, and others are specific to each type of plant. Growing healthy, productive crops requires an in-depth knowledge of your soil and the individual needs of your crops.
Many farmers employ tillage and drainage tiles to improve yields by manipulating soil conditions. However, emerging tactics such as IoT soil sensors can provide real-time information about soil conditions and lead to practical management understandings.
Sufficient nutrients in the soil
A healthy plant’s immune system and ability to fend off disease and pests depend on a steady supply of nutrients. Furthermore, some plants, like soybeans, obtain nutrients through microbial symbioses, which necessitates a healthy ecology. Farmers use a variety of methods to make nutrients available to plants in the soil, including using fertilizer, tillage, cover crops, and crop rotations. Naturally, different phases of growth require different amounts of fertilizer, and over-and under-fertilizing and over-tilling have long been known to cause problems.
To help farmers better distribute nutrients and other inputs to the soil and plants using new agricultural equipment like tractors fitted with sensors, prescription mapping technology, and variable rate applicators is now possible. The use of geo-maps generated by a tractor, drones, satellites, or farm management software allows farmers to identify soil nutrients meter by meter rather than delivering inputs uniformly throughout an acre. A farm’s sustainability is improved as a result of this, which reduces the risk of over and under-fertilizing.
Wellbeing of plants
There are many environmental and genetic elements that influence plant health, however, specific crop protection techniques including pesticides, biocides, and predators, as well as cultural practices such as crop rotations and planting dates, can help minimize pest occurrence and hence improve yields.
To acquire a bird’s-eye view of crop health, modern technologies like satellite and drone imaging can provide information on plant health by analyzing parameters such as chlorophyll and water content in leaves. It is possible to use these photos to identify potential problems in the field, such as regions where crops aren’t hitting their growth milestones.
Many modern manufacturers use greenhouses, hoop houses, hydroponics systems, and irrigation systems to generate unique microclimates for their plants. These in-field sensors monitor several different weather variables such as temperature, sunlight intensity, relative humidity (RH), and soil moisture (SM). The data collected by these sensors is fed into internet dashboards that provide farmers with historical as well as current weather data.
Genetics of plant species
A substantial portion of the agriculture sector is made up of genetics and seed companies, which provide improved crops adapted to a wide range of circumstances, bred for features including higher yields, uniformity, and tolerance to stress. Some seed companies are using digital platforms to manage trials and growers, analyze variety performance, compare field-by-field and farm-by-farm productivity, and monitor real-time changes in crop maturity to assure timely seed harvests and improved yields.
New agricultural technologies that boost crop yields while reducing their impact on the environment are more important than ever as the world’s population grows and arable land becomes scarcer. While harvesting and pruning robots have yet to be developed by tech companies, precision agricultural technology is reshaping the agriculture business right now. All types of farms, from the largest in Europe, Asia, and the United States to smallholders in the developing world, from input suppliers to food processors to vineyards and commodities growers, can benefit from the holistic view of farming with the agricultural technology by reducing wastage and lowering costs.