The Future of Smart Farming using IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) has enabled improvements in nearly every industry. It has completely changed how we think about smart farming, not only by providing solutions to time-consuming and tedious tasks. but also by changing our minds about agriculture. But what exactly is a smart farm? Here’s an overview of smart farming and how it’s impacting agriculture.
What Is a Smart Farming?
Smart farming is the use of modern information and communication technologies to manage the farms in order to increase the quantity and quality of products while reducing the amount of human labor required.
The following are some of the technologies available to today’s farmers:
- Sensors: soil, water, light, humidity, temperature management
- Software: customized software solutions for specific farm types or IoT platforms that are application-agnostic
- Connectivity: cellular, LoRa
- Location: GPS, Satellite
- Robotics: Autonomous tractors, processing facilities
- Data analytics: stand-alone solutions and data pipelines for downstream applications
Farmers can monitor field conditions and make strategic decisions for the entire farm or a single plant using such tools without ever having to set foot in the field.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is at the heart of smart farming, connecting machines and sensors on farms to make farming processes data-driven and automated.
The Smart Farming Cycle Using IoT
The data you can extract from things and transmit over the internet is at the heart of the Internet of Things.
IoT devices installed on a farm should collect and process data in a repetitive cycle to allow farmers to respond quickly to emerging issues and changes in ambient conditions, in order to optimize the farming process.
Smart farming follows a cycle like this:
Sensors measure from crops, livestock, soil, and the atmosphere.
The sensor data is sent to a cloud-based IoT platform with pre-programmed decision rules and models (also known as “business logic”) that determine the condition of the object being examined and identify any deficiencies or needs.
Following the discovery of issues, the IoT platform’s user and/or machine learning-driven components determine whether location-specific treatment is required, and if so, which.
The cycle begins again after the end-user evaluation and action.
Agricultural Problems and IoT Solutions:
Many people believe that IoT can benefit all aspects of farming, from crop production to forestry. While there are many ways that IoT can improve farming, precision farming, and farming automation are two of the most important ways that IoT can revolutionize agriculture.
Precision farming, also known as precision agriculture, is an umbrella term for Internet-of-Things-based farming methods that are more controlled and precise. Simply put, plants and cattle receive the exact treatment they require, as determined by machines with superhuman precision. Precision farming differs from traditional farming in that it allows decisions to be made per square meter or even per plant/animal rather than per field.
Farmers can improve the effectiveness of pesticides and fertilizers or use them selectively by precisely measuring variations within a field.
Precision Livestock Farming:
Smart farming techniques, like precision agriculture, allow farmers to better monitor the needs of individual animals and adjust their nutrition accordingly, preventing disease and improving herd health.
Wireless IoT applications can be used by large farm owners to track the location, well-being, and health of their cattle. They can use this information to identify sick animals and separate them from the herd to prevent disease spread.
Automation in Smart Greenhouses:
Traditional greenhouses use manual intervention or a proportional control mechanism to control environmental parameters, which often results in production loss, energy loss, and increased labor costs.
Smart greenhouses powered by the Internet of Things can intelligently monitor and control the climate, removing the need for manual intervention. Various sensors are used to measure environmental parameters in accordance with the crop’s specific needs. This information is saved in a cloud-based platform for processing and control with minimal human intervention.
Agriculture is one of the most important verticals to use drones for crop health assessment, irrigation, crop monitoring, crop spraying, planting, soil and field analysis, and other purposes.
Drones collect multispectral, thermal, and visual imagery while flying, allowing farmers to gain insight into a variety of metrics such as plant health indices, plant counting and yield prediction, plant height measurement, canopy cover mapping, field water pond mapping, scouting reports, stockpile measuring, chlorophyll measurement, nitrogen content in wheat, drainage mapping, weed pressure mapping, and more.
Importantly, IoT-based smart farming not only limited to large-scale farming operations; it can also add value to emerging agricultural trends such as organic farming, family farming, and preservation of specific or high-quality varieties, as well as enhance highly transparent farming to consumers, society, and market consciousness.
What’s Next in Smart Farming:
Of course, none of these innovations will be useful if they do not address global issues. Here are two ways that smart farming will have a positive impact on the future.
Why not have an Internet of Food Things (IoFT) if we already have the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)? The European Commission’s Internet of Food and Farm 2020 (IoF2020) project, which is part of Horizon 2020 Industrial Leadership, investigates the potential of IoT technologies for the European food and farming industry through research and regular conferences.
The Internet of Things has fueled the belief that a smart network of sensors, actuators, cameras, robots, drones, and other connected devices will bring agriculture an unprecedented level of control and automated decision-making, paving the way for a long-term ecosystem of innovation in the oldest of industries.
Third Green Revolution:
Smart farming and IoT-driven agriculture are laying the groundwork for a Third Green Revolution.
The Third Green Revolution is taking over agriculture, following the plant breeding and genetics revolutions. Precision farming equipment, Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs or drones), robotics, and other data-driven analytics technologies are all used in this revolution.
Pesticide and fertilizer use will decrease in the future, while overall efficiency will rise, according to this smart farming revolution. Food traceability will improve as a result of IoT technologies, resulting in improved food safety. It will also benefit the environment, for example, by allowing for more efficient water use and treatment and input optimization.
As a result, smart farming holds the promise of delivering a more productive and sustainable form of agricultural production based on a more precise and resource-efficient approach.
New farms will finally bring humanity’s long-held dream to fruition. it will feed our upcoming generation, expected to reach 9.6 billion people by 2050.