Technology has become a common element in agriculture. It has brought about a variety of applications, tools, and equipment that upon use, can lead to an improvement in the agricultural process, and the produce.
A clear understanding of the concept of natural intelligence remains to be the only systematic approach to the development of the Internet of Things (IoT). Normally, the internet of things is considered a solution for the simple problem associated with communication in agriculture.
Agriculture intelligence has for many years tried to offer solution to this problem – precision farming. In modern farming approaches, effective communication between plants, animals and different machines on different farmlands, as well as on diverse IoT devices is important.
Large scale farming would require the adoption of IoT; however, this implies the need for an appropriate large architecture. The challenge is that despite the possible use of low-energy networks for connectivity purposes, it is only possible on one side and is not available in remote areas. The result of such a case is that there will be insecure communication.
Precision agriculture –also referred to as smart agriculture, smart farming, or precision farming can be traced from the late nineties. The introduction of precision farming has been introduced following the dramatic expansion in the demand on productivity which has increased the size of the farming fields.
Usually, in most of the cases, large tracks of farmlands are considered as single and uniform areas. However, this does not take the consideration of the different in temperature, nutrients’ availability, or even the types of soils. Such lack of considerations of the factors that can affect the productivity of land leads to non-optimization in the use of necessary resources like pesticides, fertilizers, or water.
Precision farming is a significant approach used in fostering the use of methods that are specific to any given farmland. Such methods are ideal in enhancing the effective management of crops in the fields. This approach focuses on the treatment of any field parcels as single units which are characterized depending on their specific resources – requirements. Precision farming is useful in diverse agricultural production systems, without limitation on crop production.
Ideally, precision farming aims at providing farmers with a platform to enhance agricultural production, while at the same time optimizing the costs of farming; preservation of sources, and the reduction of the impact of agricultural practices on the environment. While precision farming aims at enhancing the profit margins of farmers, it also ensures that farmers’ challenges are reduced significantly especially in the growing world’s population.
Leveraging the IoT
For precision farming to be effective, various factors should work accurately. Some of the factors include the appropriate machine status, crop behavior, light, temperature, humidity, soil composition, and weather among many others. Effective application of the multiple factors is necessary in influencing the amount of yield obtained from a particular piece of land. The information about all the factors is obtained using satellites, drones, GPS, APIs, and sensors, and is useful at diverse levels including:
- Efficiency in farming depends on the accuracy of the decisions taken. With the IoT, it is possible to collect real-time data for the purpose of helping farmers in making smart and ad-hoc decisions that step from observed threats or opportunities in the farmland.
- The statistical data obtained from any farmland is important in making historical analysis of the parcel of land. Such an approach can be useful in making predictions about the preferred crops, and the level of yields to expect. Additionally, the data obtain from the farm is useful for planning purposes, as well as for determining areas that need continued improvement.
Therefore, smart farming requires effective interconnection of objects such as cameras and sensors for the extraction of local data that can be used in Big Data, as well as analytics tools used in storing huge data obtained from the farm, have it processed and turned into information that can be used in improving the farming practice. Additionally, it is important to integrate all the services from any one given component to form structured as well as well-organized orchestrations.
Implementation of IoT
Precision farming does not only aim at the simple generation of data through sensors, but also in the analysis of the data for evaluating the required actions. IoT can be successfully applied in smart farming especially in area such as storage monitoring, field observation, livestock monitoring and farm vehicle tracking.
There is a high potential that sensors can be mounted on animals for monitor the well-being and health of the animals, and tacking the significance of the surrounding environment. Such approaches are important in that they give farmers reliable data on the condition of the animals and crops, such as notifying them whenever there is a sick animal and hence, help in controlling the spread of diseases within the farmland.
Controllers are used on the farmland for managing driverless tractors, which is a significant way to save on costs. The use of infra-red cameras in the fields is a great way to identify crops that are infested with pests, or weeds, and selectively apply herbicides.
This avoids the mass use of herbicides on the entire farmland which can be a waste; selective application of herbicides and fertilizers is a saving option on farmers.
The future of agriculture is bright with the adoption precision farming. However, without effective IoT solutions, it can be hard to achieve the goals and objectives of smart agriculture. It is advisable, though to invest a lot in research before adopting any IoT solutions, or even a smart farming practice.
Nevertheless, smart farming is a great way to improve the farming practices and yields, while at the time reducing the cost of operations. Was this information useful? do not keep it to yourself–share widely to help a farmer!
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