Introduction to IoT Applications
Devices powered by IoT (Internet of Things) infiltrate almost every aspect of human life, farming included. Automation and connected devices found use in modern agriculture through significantly improving different farming practices, making the life of farmers much easier.
By using smart gadgets IoT technology offers, agronomists can efficiently manage their farms by making reliable, data-driven decisions. Almost each year there are new IoT-connected devices that come into play. Depending on the farmer’s needs, these gadgets can inform on soil and crop health, humidity level, water stress, and many other important metrics.
We have gathered the most useful and interesting applications and tools IoT technology offers for the agricultural industry.
The Ways of Applying IoT to Farming
Here are the possible applications of IoT-powered technologies to various agricultural practices.
Crop and Cattle Management Platforms
IoT technology helps farmers collect information on weather, soil moisture, and other factors that influence crop health thanks to ground sensors and online tools that analyze this information. And to receive a more precise and full analysis of the field, growers also tend to seek back up by tools that leverage remote sensing data. Such online instruments enable remote plants management via analyzing satellite imagery with specific algorithms. One of the main sources of information on crop health is usually the vegetation indices measurements. Crop Monitoring platform by EOSDA, among many other features, offers different vegetation indices analytics, including NDVI.
Similar to crop monitoring, IoT-powered sensors can be used to keep track of health and log performance of farm animals. For instance, GPS tracking systems are a great opportunity for farmers to track animals remotely and in real-time, eliminating the threat of losing any of them. Besides, such systems enable the animal’s wellbeing check by sending out alerts if the animal is hurt or sick. It saves both time and the expenses on a veterinarian.
Electronic Ear Tags
These devices are also part of cattle monitoring practices. By equipping animals with ear tags, farmers can easily find out when and how much each animal is eating. It helps to identify changes in eating patterns, which may signal something is wrong with the animal.
Ultimately, this works similar to ankle pedometers that notify farmers on how much time the animal spent standing or lounging, which may help to indicate health issues.
Autonomous Field Equipment
Self-driving tractors are not new to the agricultural market. Their main advantage is precision when working the crop rows thanks to the elimination of overlap. Leveraging IoT technology, autonomous field equipment navigates using lasers that bounce signals off several mobile transponders placed around field borders. Such equipment ensures the reduction of human errors when performing field activities.
As any other business, farming requires tracking and management of different types of important data: crop yield, weather forecast, equipment servicing schedules, inventory levels, and much more. And cloud computing is what helps agronomists to store and share all this information. This means that the data is accessible online and to several users, which enables both farm owners and workers to see the real picture of what is going on in the fields.
Robotic milking is basically an opportunity to delegate dirty work to robots. Moreover, this saves time and money since milking stations require only one person to operate the process. Another advantage of robotic milking is that those systems also enable monitoring of the milk output, number of milkings per specific period of time, and even the number of steps a cow takes to identify if the animal is in heat.
IoT technologies have already become an inseparable part of modern farming. Each year more and more farmers start implementing IoT technologies on their farms. And this trend shows no signs of stopping. That is due to connected agriculture providing farmers with the opportunity to remotely retrieve and collect precise data for themselves to make further use of it by making effective decisions. Apart from having a significant impact on the daily workflow on a farm, IoT applications and tools enable conduction of own research depending on the farm’s needs. In the long run, this means better understanding of farming practices, leading to the agricultural industry meeting society’s expectations overall.