Things have evolved immensely due to the convergence of multiple technologies, real-time analytics, machine learning, commodity sensors, and embedded systems, called the Internet of Things, enabling mankind to make the most of technology. But could you have ever pictured Agriculture with technology? Sounds over the top? Well, the use of IoT in Agriculture is the evolution of today and very well worth it. Let us explore the various ways and answer ‘how’?
What is IoT?
The Internet of things (IoT) describes the network of physical objects or "things" that are entrenched with a variety of technologies like sensors, software, etc., and serve the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.
What is Smart Agriculture?
Smart Agriculture, in simple words, is Agriculture making full use of technology. It focuses on the use of data extracted through various sources varying from historical, geographical to instrumental in the management of farm activities. Smart farmings lives up to the true meaning of IoT in agriculture as it uses hardware, IoT, and software, SaaS, to obtain the data and give actionable insights to manage all the operations on the agriculture site, both pre-and post-harvest. This data is further organized and is accessible at any time and monitors actions accordingly.
Now that we have summarized how IoT in agriculture be advantageous, let us now explore the application in real life.
Applications of IoT in Agriculture
Also known as precision agriculture, it focuses on farming practices more controlled and accurate when it comes to raising livestock and growing crops. In this approach of IoT in agriculture, farm management with technology and IT components like sensors, control systems, robotics, autonomous vehicles, automated hardware, variable rate technology, etc. becomes easier. Precision agriculture trend includes the adoption of access to high-speed internet, mobile devices, and reliable, low-cost satellites (for imagery and positioning) by the manufacturer.
IoT in Agriculture today is one of the major sectors to incorporate drones to enhance various agricultural practices. The ground-based and aerial-based drones are being incorporated in agriculture and help in crop health assessment, irrigation, crop monitoring, crop spraying, planting, and soil and field analysis. The drone collects multispectral, thermal, and visual imagery.
The major gains of using drones include crop health imaging, integrated GIS mapping, ease of use, saves time, and the potential to increase yields. From the data collected by drones, insights are drawn regarding plant health indices, plant counting and yield prediction, plant height measurement, canopy cover mapping, field water ponding mapping, scouting reports, stockpile measuring, chlorophyll measurement, nitrogen content in wheat, drainage mapping and weed pressure mapping.
Weeding Robots are smart agrirobots that use digital image processing to look through the images of weeds in the database to detect similarities with crops and weed out or spray them with their robotic arms. These are one of the best offering of IoT in agriculture that help reduce the painstaking and time consuming work of the farmers.
Using agribots to pick crops is solving the problem of labor shortages. This IoT in agriculture blessing is a combination of image processing and robotic arms employed by the machines to find out the fruits to pick hence also controlling the quality. Greenhouse harvesting also uncovers applications with these bots for high-value crops. These bots can work in greenhouses to appropriately determine the stage of the crop and harvest them at the right time.
Robots are by far the best products of IoT in agriculture. They can perform the toughest manual labor tasks working alongside the laborers. They can lift heavy materials and carry out tasks like plant spacing with high accuracy, therefore, optimizing the space and plant quality, and reducing production costs.
IoT in Agriculture based remote sensing employs sensors placed along with the farms like weather stations for gathering data which is transferred to an analytical tool for analysis. Farmers can monitor the crops from an analytical dashboard and take appropriate action based on insights.
Sensors are another example of smart IoT in agriculture product range. They are placed alongside the farms and monitor the crops for variations in light, humidity, temperature, shape, and size. Any abnormality detected by the sensors is analyzed and the farmer is notified. Remote sensing can help prevent the spread of diseases and keep an eye on the growth of crops.
The most important factor in cultivation is the right weather conditions, therefore, the culmination of IoT in agriculture will help collect data by sensors in terms of humidity, temperature, moisture precipitation, and dew detection assist in determining the weather pattern in farms so that cultivation is done for suitable crops.
It is a tough job to determine the perfect soil quality fit for a particular crop. Therefore, IoT in agriculture lends a helping hand of devices that help to solve the problem. The evaluation of the quality of soil helps in determining the nutrient value and drier areas of farms, soil drainage capacity, or acidity, which lets to adjust the amount of water needed for irrigation and to opt for the most beneficial type of cultivation.
With water being a valuable resource, its wastage is the last thing that one would desire. IoT in agriculture helps in reducing water wastage, adopting healthy and improved yields through connected, sensor-based water monitoring and management will do the trick. Sensor data and analytics assist farmers manage irrigation in a way that keeps up with demand while conserving natural resources. Sustainable practices boost profitability and conservation of water over time.
IoT devices have become pretty popular in consumer markets with wearable IoWT (Internet of Wearable Things) such as smartwatches and home management products like Google home. But not restricted to that only. As agriculture is one of the main industries of the country, the best measures and developments of products under IoT in agriculture are being amended to ensure the best of crop yields and farmer conveniences with the IoT devices and software.