Agriculture is the backbone of the world food supply. Though often taken for granted, most of us would go hungry without the foods produced through conventional farming operations. With that said, agriculture is facing numerous challenges in 2020. Everything from environmental issues and land use to funding can stand in the way of a productive yield. This is where IoT-based applications come into play. While most of us equate the IoT with our Alexa smart-devices and wearables, IoT actually plays a major role in the field of agriculture. IoT-based farming can provide significant benefits, including efficient water usage, optimized inputs, and better treatments. IoT is going to help grow agriculture in the modern-day as it continues to revolutionize the industry well into the future. Let’s take a look at how the IoT will effectively help to grow agricultural practices in the new year.
The Adaptation of Precision Farming Practices
Precision farming or precision agriculture is simply anything that makes a farming practice more controlled, whether in raising livestock or growing a crop yield. The overall goal is total accuracy in decisions. It is an approach to farm management that uses IT and items such as robotics, autonomous vehicles, variable rate technology, control systems, and automated hardware. Thanks to the adoption of IoT elements, precision agriculture is being leveraged around the world. Suddenly, programs such as CropMetrics exist to precisely manage aspects of agriculture such as irrigation and even feeding.
Farm and Agriculture Drones
When it comes to IoT applications in agriculture, farm or agricultural drones are absolutely key. In agriculture, drones are being used to effectively enhance necessary agricultural practices. Both ground-based and aerial-based drones are being utilized to assess crop health, aid in irrigation, perform crop monitoring, perform crop spraying, and provide analysis on-field/soil properties. Major benefits of drones include integrated GIS mapping, time-saving capabilities (otherwise farmers would have to do this themselves), increased yields, and more vibrant crop health. The data collected by these drones is helping the agriculture industry significantly.
Livestock Monitoring Capabilities
One major way the IoT is changing agriculture in 2020 is through the ability to collect data regarding the health, location, and overall well-being of livestock such as cattle. This data is essential to identifying sick animals and separating them from the herd, thus ensuring others in the herd are kept safe. Additionally, IoT sensors can help ranchers to locate their lost cattle or to keep tabs on where a particular herd is grazing that day. Before the IoT, none of this was quite as simple. Cow-monitoring solutions can even help herd owners to observe pregnant cows or those about to give birth. A sensor powered battery is expelled as soon as the cow’s water breaks. This information is then sent to the rancher so that they can assist the cow in the birthing process. This eliminates much of the risk involved in birthing a calf.
Tech-Savvy Smart Greenhouses
Due to climate change, greenhouse farming is becoming an essential means of keeping crop yields high and ensuring continuous food supply. Smart greenhouses powered by the IoT control all of the environmental paramters through manual intervention. The technology can intelligently monitor/control climate through sensors that measure exact environmental factors according to the plants being grown. The system can be remotely accessed when connected to IoT devices, giving farmers a degree of control never before seen. As weather and climate patterns become more unpredictable, smart greenhouses are a way for farmers to curb loss and keep profits high.
Thanks to the IoT farming is becoming a more streamlined and precise practice that allows farmers a certain degree of control over livestock and crops. Costs are reduced, monitoring is accurate, and farmers no longer have to depend on their own judgments when it comes to things such as sick animals or crop health. In 2020 and beyond, the IoT will continue to impact agriculture for the better.