What is Smart Farming: The Future of Agriculture
The Internet of Things (IoT), which allows farmers to monitor and control their growth factors like fertilizer and irrigation, has changed the way we see agriculture and smart farming. I will explain in this article what a smart farm is, and how IoT will affect the future of agriculture.
What is a Smart Farm?
Smart Farming refers to the management of farms using modern Information and Communication Technologies in order to increase the quality and quantity of products and minimize the labor needed.
The following technologies are available to farmers today:
- Sensors: soil and water, light, humidity, temperature, management
- Software: Specialized software solutions targeted at specific farm types or Applications agnostic IoT platforms
- Connectivity: cellular, LoRa, etc.
- Location: Satellite, GPS,
- Robotics: Autonomous tractors and processing facilities, etc.
- Data analytics: Standalone analytics solutions, data pipelines to downstream solutions, etc.
These tools allow farmers to monitor the conditions in the field without ever having to go out into the field. They can also make strategic decisions about the entire farm or a single plant.
IoT is the driving force behind smart farming. It connects smart machines and sensors to farms, making farming data-driven.
The IoT-Based Smart Farming Cycle
IoT’s core is data that you can extract from things (“T”) or transmit over the Internet (“I”) IoT devices should be placed on farms to collect and process data in a repeating cycle. This allows farmers to quickly react to new issues or changes in the environment. This is how smart farming works:
Sensors collect observational data from crops, livestock, soil, or the atmosphere.
The sensor data are sent to a cloud-hosted IoT platform that uses predefined decision models and rules. These rules, also known as “business logic”, help determine the object’s condition and identify any needs or deficiencies.
After all, issues are disclosed, the user or the machine learning-driven components IoT platform decides if location-specific treatment should be performed and, if so, which.
4. Take Action
The cycle continues from the beginning after the end-user evaluations and actions.
IoT Solutions to Agricultural Problems
Many believe that IoT has the potential to bring value to every aspect of agriculture, from crop production to forestry. We’ll be discussing two areas that IoT could revolutionize in agriculture.
- Precision farming
- Farming automation/robotization
1. Precision farming
Precision farming is a broad term for IoT-based farming methods that allow farmers to be more precise and controlled. Simply put, precision farming allows plants and cattle to receive the exact treatment they require, as determined by machines that have superhuman accuracy. Precision farming is a different approach to traditional farming in that decisions can be made per square meter, per plant/animal, or for an entire field.
Farmers can increase the effectiveness of fertilizers and pesticides by measuring field variations accurately.
2. Precision Livestock Farming
Smart farming techniques, like precision agriculture, allow farmers to better monitor individual animals’ needs and adjust their nutrition accordingly. This allows them to prevent disease and improve herd health.
Large farm owners can use wireless IoT applications to monitor the health, location and well-being their cattle. They can also identify sick animals and can prevent them from spreading disease to the rest of the herd.
Automation in Smart Greenhouses
Traditional greenhouses can be controlled by either manual intervention or a proportional control system. This often leads to production loss, increased energy costs, and higher labor costs.
Smart greenhouses that are IoT-driven can monitor and control the climate intelligently, without the need to be manually manipulated. Multiple sensors are used to determine the environmental parameters that the crop requires. This data is stored on a cloud-based platform and can be used for further processing or control with minimal manual intervention.
Agriculture is one major vertical that incorporates both ground and aerial drones for crop monitoring and spraying.
Drones can collect thermal, multispectral, and visual imagery as they fly, which gives farmers insight into a wide range of metrics, including plant health indices and yield prediction, plant count and plant counting, canopy cover mapping, and field water pond mapping. They also provide information on scouting reports and stockpile measurement, chlorophyll measurements, nitrogen content in wheat, and drainage mapping.
Importantly, IoT-based smart farming is not limited to large-scale operations. It can also add value to emerging trends like organic farming and family farming. This includes breeding specific cattle and/or cultivating particular cultures, preservation and preservation of high-quality varieties, and enhancing transparency in farming for consumers, society, and the market.
Internet of Food or Farm 2020
The Internet of Things (IoT), the Internet of Medical Things ( IoMT) is all available. Why not create one for food? The European Commission’s project Internet of Food and Farm 2020 explores the potential of IoT technology for European agriculture and food industry through regular conferences and research.
IoT is a belief that smart networks of actuators, cameras and robots will provide unprecedented control and automated decision making in agriculture. This will allow for an unbroken ecosystem of innovation in the oldest of industries.
Third Green Revolution
Smart farming and IoT-driven agriculture are opening the door to what could be called the Third Green Revolution.
The Third Green Revolution, which follows the genetics and plant breeding revolutions is taking control of agriculture. This revolution is based on the combination of data-driven analytics technologies such as IoT, big data analytics, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones, robotics,
This smart farming revolution will lead to a decrease in pesticide and fertilizer usage, while overall efficiency will increase. IoT technology will allow greater food traceability which will, in turn, lead to improved food safety. It can also help the environment by optimizing inputs and treatments, as well as more efficient water use.
Smart farming is a viable option to produce more sustainable and productive agricultural products. It relies on a more efficient and precise approach. The ultimate dream of humanity will be realized when new farms are built. It will feed our growing population, which could reach 9.6 Billion by 2050.