The agricultural industry today faces a growing number of challenges in the cultivation of soil and animal husbandry to provide food, wool, and other products to a fast growing, global population. The Internet of Things (IoT), with its ecosystem of smart, connected devices and powerful analytics, is transforming the industry into an industry equipped with timely and informed decision-making to address issues with soil and weather management, maintaining healthy livestock, increasing water supply shortages, limited land availability, and disease control. The outcome is an agricultural industry that can lower bottom line costs through increasing the quality, quantity, sustainability, and cost effectiveness of their agricultural production and capture real economic value.
Discover how IoT is transforming Agriculture into Precision Agriculture.
Collect data from a range of smart, connected, and geo-referenced sensors with inputs such as soil temperature, humidity, leaf wetness, pH, macronutrient levels, solar radiation, air speed, temperature and moisture. Observe in real-time site specific soil variability, microclimate and topography. Scale the sensor grid with more sensors to produce more accurate sampling.
Visualize this information using soil field maps or high quality graphs for each specific sensory input in order to make timely, informed decisions about optimizing yields in soil areas with ideal conditions, and concentrating irrigation, fertilizer and pesticide applications in soil areas where it is much needed.
The timely and sufficient provision of water is a crucial component in the growth of crops. It is an expensive and scarce commodity where too little or too much water of it can affect both the growth and yield through premature death or disease. Along with extensive soil variability in water retention and humidity across vast fields, the provision of water is generally uniform in application.
By building a smart irrigation system using a combination of smart humidity sensors and smart actuators that control the valves on water application systems, water can be efficiently managed and tracked on a site specific basis, and therefore reducing unnecessary or excessive irrigation.
Livestock Health Tracking
The health of livestock is generally obtained through infrequent and subjective observations of the animal’s wellbeing from an external point of view. When livestock gets sick, the symptoms don’t generally surface until it’s too late to treat. By that time, treatment is expensive, ineffective and often too late.
Using a combination of consumable stomach sensors, exterior body sensors and RFID tags, the individual health of each livestock can be tracked and monitored, enabling pre-emptive treatment and management of livestock sicknesses in their early stages. In doing so, the well-being of the entire herd is maintained, and production output is increased. Additionally, toxic gas levels from excrement can be remotely monitored using various gas sensors to ensure they are at minimal ranges.
Silos are vital in the bulk storage of livestock nutrition or other valuable inventories. It is often difficult to promptly and accurately monitor and track its inventory given their size and mass.
Using ultra-sonic distance sensors with telemetry, farmers can actively or periodically monitor the inventory of each individual silo. This information is then presented in graphical dashboards that can be made available to all stakeholders in the supply chain.
Value can be created all over the supply chain. By tracking the silo inventory autonomously, alerts can be made to replenish the silo when its inventory falls to a particular level, livestock nutrition shortages can be avoided, and forecasting on consumption can assist with nutrition production planning.
Greenhouses & Hydroponics
Greenhouses, and are artificially erected ecological environments that are closely monitored and regulated so the conditions inside the greenhouse are precisely ideal for optimised plant growth.
Smart sensors that monitor soil temperature/moisture, leaf wetness, atmospheric pressure, soil temperature/humidity and solar radiation, can be integrated with smart actuators that control openings for sunlight, fans for ventilation, thermostat for temperature, irrigation and carbon dioxide enrichment systems. Dashboards can be used to monitor the sensor values for particular bed rows in real-time.
The result is a completely autonomous, closely monitored and regulated greenhouse that continually adjusts the conditions inside to optimise growth yields. A similar system can be applied for hydroponic setups, which also includes smart water sensors and autonomous irrigation systems.