All You Need to Know About IoT in Agriculture


According to the latest studies, farming will undergo big changes in the near future. Those changes are connected with technical innovations in general and the Internet of Things in particular. Machina Research states that by nearly 225M of IoT agricultural devices will be shipped worldwide by 2024. This fact alone clearly indicates a growing demand for this technology.

What Is Smart Agriculture and How Does It Work?
In fact, there are several terms that relate to the use of technologies in agriculture:

  • AgriTech. This term stands for the use of specialized software intended to improve one’s agricultural business profitability and efficiency.
  • Smart farming / Smart agriculture. Those two terms are often used interchangeably and cover the use of IoT solutions to improve a certain aspect of one’s agricultural business.

Let’s move on to the next question. Smart farming devices are programmed to gather information with the help of built-in sensors. The data is typically processed by specialized software to be displayed in an easy-to-understand form and be accessible for farmers 24/7.

What exactly do these devices track? Almost any criteria a farmer might need for their agricultural activities: from soil humidity to weather conditions. The catch is that the market may not have a hardware or software solution meeting specific needs. This means that farmers may need to hire hardware and software developers to build a solution for meeting their requirements.

Main Advantages of IoT for Agriculture
IoT solutions are able to significantly transform agricultural businesses by automating their processes and providing valuable data that could influence decision-making. You can see the list of main IoT benefits below.

1. Data Collection and Processing

It is barely possible to imagine a successful business that does not care about figures and analysts’ forecasts. Farming is in need of rich data like every other business. The combination of IoT and software systems allow to record, store, analyze, and visualize information in a way that gives every stakeholder an easy access to it and helps them monitor the current business situation.

2. Control over Risks

Since IoT devices gather tons of information while algorithms work to turn it into something valuable, it is possible to take business risks under control. Let’s say the algorithm has calculated an approximate amount of crops that will be harvested this year, moth, day or whatever. Then, farmers can modernize their distribution scheme to avoid financial losses that may be caused by unsold production.

3. Business Automation

Business processes can be easily automated with the help of gather and analyzed data. For instance, farmers know an estimated amount of crops to harvest, when to harvest each sort, etc. This way, they can better manage their employees and make business more automated.

4. Quality Improvements

IoT agriculture sensors can identify and notify about different types of issues that occur in the area of analysis (soil issues, humidity level, and even livestock diseases). Timely prevention of occurring issues results in a better final product’s quality.

Use Cases for IoT in Agriculture
Let’s now consider several use cases for IoT in agriculture that can already be applied in business.

Livestock monitoring

IoT sensors can monitor not only plants but animals too. They can help farmers avoid epidemic and lower labor costs. Cowlar and SCR smart agriculture solutions can be used for this.

Forecasting weather conditions

Dedicated weather stations can provide farmers with insightful data on weather changes.

Available solutions: Pycno, allMETEO, Smart Element

Greenhouse Automation

Software manages greenhouses and regulates all the parameters to get the best results.

Available solutions: Growlink

Crop Monitoring

Being placed in a field, smart sensors collect important data including crop health, humidity, temperature, etc.

Available solutions: Semios, Arable

Farm management system

There is a need for storing all the data in one place. This is especially relevant in case a farmer has several farms and multiple smart farming sensors installed there. A farm management system gathers all the data under the user-friendly interface and offers easy-to-use management features.

Available solutions: FarmLogs, Cropio

Noteworthy IoT Agriculture Projects

Here is a list of projects with interesting ideas behind:

  • CropX. A soil monitoring platform designed to notify farmers about appropriate irrigation time as well as an amount of water.
  • 365FarmNet. A software solution that allows business owners managing one or several farms simultaneously via desktop or mobile.
  • PrecisionHawk. This platform is created to make use of specially equipped drones and program them for performing various actions.
  • JMB. This is a cow-monitoring system that can inform farmer about cows’ pregnancy and their readiness to give birth.

Wrapping Up

The future of agriculture is truly exciting. Smart farming is able to reduce costs, risks and increase the overall efficiency of a farm.

About the author: Nataliia Kharchenko is a Technical Writer at Cleveroad. It is web and mobile app development company in Ukraine. We are focused on helping startups, small, and medium businesses create competitive and winning software. I enjoy bringing a digital world closer to people and writing about technology, mobile apps, innovations, and progressive management models.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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