The Internet of Things (IoT) has been called the next industrial revolution, and the agricultural sector is already on board. Farmers are looking to innovative technological solutions to meet the rising food demands of a growing population (Meola, 2016). Below are five ways the IoT is transforming the agriculture:
- Remote control: Farmers are increasingly able to control equipment (such as self-driving tractors) from a distance, which allows them to focus on other tasks and improve efficiency.
- Pest Control: The IoT is enhancing pest control with the use of drones to detect water and nutrient deficits, analyze soil and weather conditions, and assess ripeness of crops (Popova, 2017). Further, infrared cameras allow farmers to identify pest-infested crops and weeds for more accurate applications.
- Irrigation: Brands such as PrecisionKing sell products that grant farmers the ability to remotely monitor soil moisture, water levels, pivots, and irrigation pumps (Campbell-Miller, 2017). Such monitoring makes a tremendous difference in water conservation.
- Animal tracking: Employing sensors on roaming animal herds makes it easier for farmers to monitor their animals’ well-being and location (Popova, 2017). Some tools can also provide direct advice to farmers regarding a sample of pasture “to supplement the herds’ grazing to maximize both yield and quality” (Kepes, 2017).
- Supply chain management: Sensors are further improving food manufacturing and transport. According to Briodagh (2017), “IoT sensors can help the industry keep track of their produce from farm to fork, ensuring import standards are adhered to, regularly monitored, and never breached.”
Using satellite imagery and sensors to gather data for the purposes of improving production output, minimizing costs, and preserving resources is called precision farming or precision agriculture (Meola, 2017). This type of farming will continue to evolve with the emergence of more IoT tools and capabilities, such as those mentioned above. Thanks to the IoT, farmers are reaping more benefits while sowing less environmental consequences.
Interested in learning more about the Internet of Things? Check out the IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things.
Briodagh, K. (2017, Jul 6). IoT speeds globalization of food industry, says Inmarsat. IoT Evolution.
Campbell-Miller, S. (2017, Jul 3). McGehee farmers deploy Internet-of-Things irrigation products. Arkansas Business.
Kepes, B. (2017, Jul 3). The Internet of (Living) Things: Tracking dairy cow eating habits. Network World.
Meola, A. (2016, Dec 20). Why IoT, big data & smart farming are the future of agriculture. Business Insider.
Popova, K. (2017, Feb 23). IoT as a solution for precision farming. IoT Agenda.