How IoT can play an important role in the farming methods of tomorrow.
Agricultural practices are amongst the high points in the Indian Economy. Even though it is the main source of livelihood for the majority of the unorganized sector, it still remains technologically under developed. Technology and more importantly education about this technology takes a mere backseat in today’s scenario.
It is anything but a mystery that the Internet of Things (IoT) changes the world for the better. Truth be told, it has already presented advancement in different enterprises, which has helped with expanding efficiency and cutting expenses of business tasks in various aspects.
Applications of IoT are growing day by day, so are the demands of our farmers. Apart from finding wide acceptance in areas such as IoT including Industrial IoT, home automation, logistics and supply chain management, IoT is yet to carve a household name for itself in the world of farmers.
Nowadays, farmers are gifted with various options to manage their day-to-day activities. Yet, they are dependent on traditional methods followed by our ancestors for hundreds of years. Experts state that lack of awareness and education are the prominent reasons why farmers in India do not know about the plethora of options that are available to use. Tools like IoT, data analytics and AI are only going to increase efficiency and productivity by an enormous scale.
Humans in general fear innovation especially in cases of AI & IoT citing loss of livelihood. People have forgotten about the fact that when the Tractor was newly introduced in the agrarian world, farmers believed it to bring an end to farm labor and therefore their employment, not realizing that the introduction of the Tractor is only to facilitate them in their daily work.
The point of most IoT products is to empower ranchers to utilize these bits of knowledge to settle on operational choices around planting, watering, reaping and more.
Of course, traditional methods have always proved to be the best. That has been successful in practice for 100s of years. If IoT can join hands with current Agricultural practices, then there could be less hurdles faced by farmers in present times.
Things have started taking a slow but steady turn for the farmers. Terms such as smart farming and AgriTech can become the buzzwords if we create proper awareness. Let’s have a look at how IoT can influence agriculture immensely.
Monitor climatic conditions accurately!
This method can combine various smart farming sensors together to predict weather conditions. This could help farmers to collect different data patterns from environmental conditions and fetch it back to the cloud. By opting for this method, they can choose the right crops, understand the climatic conditions and employ precision farming.
For example, by looking at the data collected on Climatic conditions by those sensors, farmers could actually predict when the monsoon season starts and sow the ‘rabi’ crop accordingly. They could know for themselves whether the oncoming monsoon season is going to be a drought or an above average one and suitably plant their batch of crops.
Automating the Greenhouse
Just like humans, every plant is unique. If one plant requires higher pressure rate, its opponent would require a low temperature. Proper humidity, pressure, temperature, soil moisture, nutrients and the air is a necessity for any plant to live its best life.
Sensors in the soil could measure soil moisture content to perfectly know when water is going to be needed the most. Additionally, some research groups have used Ion Selective Electrodes (ISE) and electrochemical sensors to quantify potassium, sodium and other nutrients in the soil. By collecting this data and connecting it with the internet, farmers could know accurate nutrient and water levels on their farmland in real time. They can then use this information to provide their harvests with the right quantity of fertilizers, nutrients and water at the perfect time.
By implementing the functionalities of IoT, farmers can leverage smart sprinklers to spray the right amounts of water and pesticide at the required time. This can be done remotely, giving farmers the flexibility of catering to things that need their physical presence while watering the field is taken care of at the flip of a switch. For example, they could be feeding their cattle and watering their crops at the same time, thus empowering them to be more productive than before.
Crop management devices
Similar to Greenhouse automation, farmers could make use of IoT enabled sensors to detect plant infestation. This will enable them to better manage their overall crop health.
Bringing Greenhouse automation and crop management systems under a single IoT platform will help farmers to digitally visualise their farm.
As the internet makes the world a smaller place, the practise of smart farming and IoT in agriculture will only help farmers to manage their farms in a methodical, efficient way, which will help them increase their farm productivity on a large scale.
Drones in Agriculture
Drones have found an unavoidable place in various consumer and business verticals. Why not bring these super-flying objects into agriculture? To ensure crop health including irrigation, planting, analyzing, crop spraying and monitoring, drones can come handy. Right from pressure mapping of the weeds to the measurement of the stockpile, drones can be of great support to farmers in the upcoming days.
With the help of data that we assemble from drone usage, it gives us bits of knowledge of plant health, field expectation, plant checking, mapping of field water, estimation of capacity, exploring reports, estimation of nitrogen in wheat, mapping of weed weight and much more.
A drone is a flying tractor. There is nothing a tractor can do that a drone cannot, except for maybe pulling ploughing carts. With bigger drones, this may change as well. Drones increase speed of output and improve coverage of large lands. With the help of drones, farmers can comprehensively cover every aspect of their farm for spraying pesticides and water or just imaging their crops for security.
End-to-end and peer-to-peer farm management systems
Business intelligence combined with IoT finds a prominent place in every industry of today. This can undoubtedly be of utmost help in farm management. By using powerful and smart dashboards which includes analytical and in-built reporting capabilities, you can monitor the entire performance of your farm at anywhere and anytime at a single click.
This method also paves the way for streamlining the majority of the business tasks and operations. They can also find their application in storage management, vehicle tracking and logistics.
How is smart agriculture going to benefit the farmers?
Technology has found its place in every aspect of our life. It would invariably help farmers of tomorrow if we introduce IoT for different frontiers of agriculture today. There are many pros associated with smart agriculture. Some of them are listed below:
Streamlined internal processes
By using smart agriculture, you can streamline the entire farming processes which would result in lower risks of production. By leveraging the clear insights on your production, you would be able to plan easily for smarter production distribution. This will result in increased turnover since you will have proper knowledge of harvesting crops.
Increase in the product quantity
With smart agriculture, farmers will be capable of controlling their entire production processes which would lead to increased standards in the quality of the crop along with the growth rate. These processes would, in turn, pave a clear path to increased revenue.
India would be a strong nation on the day when farmers are able to walk freely without any physical and mental stress. With proper awareness and education on IoT, this step is achievable.
The upcoming decade can be termed as the age of the Internet of Food and Farm starting 2020.
Let’s unite together to bring a revolution in farming with IoT!
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