How IoT is empowering farmers
Farmers can use the advantages of real-time soil condition data to improve crop health, to reduce costs, and to create more efficient farming solutions.
The agriculture industry is the foundation of developed and developing economies worldwide, and it’s one of the most powerful tools to mitigate poverty and to bring prosperity. According to statistics, by 2022, the market for smart agriculture is expected to grow from approximately 9.58 billion USD in 2017 to 23.14 billion USD.
Crucial factors such as exponential population growth, food security, and climate change have driven the agriculture industry into looking for more innovative approaches to improve efficiency and crop yield. In summary, to produce more with less land. Consequently, the Internet of Things (IoT) has emerged as a solution for the agriculture industry by providing end-to-end visibility throughout agricultural processes. The several benefits are:
- Sensors moved by IoT collect data related to temperature, volumetric water content, rainfall, and other important field parameters in real-time. Farmers can utilize this information to identify trends, understand historical behavior and to predict irrigation needs.
- Wireless monitoring capability allows farmers to check crop water levels remotely, saving time and effort. Farmers can access real-time data instantly on mobile devices as well as on PCs. As a result, counteractions can be taken in the same moment.
- IoT sensors increase irrigation efficiency, where there will be no chance of under- or over-watering crops.
- Sensors are battery-powered and consume less energy, resulting in years of battery life and less maintenance costs.
What Challenges Do Farmers Face?
Traditional maintenance checks: manually checking soil parameters adds a considerable load on total operational costs.
Inaccurate soil humidity data: It requires a high level of effort, time and energy (gas, machinery, etc.) to check the soil humidity status of the entire farm or, multiple farms, manually.
Water wastage: Absence of real-time soil humidity information leads to over- or under-watering crops, which not only wastes water but also damages crops.
Planting/cultivating timings: it is not easy to know the optimum time to plant without the availability of soil data of the entire farm. Farms present field variations in terms of distributions of different soil textures, which directly influences on site heterogeneity. Without sensing devices, heterogeneity highly interferes in the right time for planting as well as cultivating, and harvesting.
Bringing the Power of Data to Farmers
IoT technology and connected devices have the ability to send and receive data from everyday objects; the agriculture industry can benefit greatly by utilizing real-time connectivity. In the moment that devices start to communicate with each other, a net of smart data is formed to predict any variability in the field.
IBM estimates that by the year 2050, IoT will empower farmers to improve crop yields by 70 percent.
Apart from weather forecasting and pest management, IoT has the potential to save up to 50 billion gallons of water per year. Sensors can support farmers in optimizing water usage during irrigation processes, or even to understand the right moment to irrigate. A holistic IoT adoption approach will transform the agriculture industry.
What Values IoT Solutions Deliver to the Farms
The benefits of IoT implementation for farmers are numerous, covering small to big farms:
Automate irrigation: These advance solutions utilize smart sprinkler systems (Actuators) which triggers the irrigation on when the soil humidity goes below the desired limits. With the possibility of data integration, Sensoterra soil moisture data can be integrated to other data platforms for a complete farm overview.
Keep a continuous watch on the soil quality: The solutions can back up all the data ingested from the sensors over time, even if the farmer’s mobile/laptop is offline. This way the farmer can know the all-time history of soil moisture. Farmers are also notified on their cellular device or mail if any deviation occurs in the moisture or temperature parameters. Sensoterra data is presented in an user-friendly graph showing soil moisture % per days, making the comprehension easy for the farmers.
Help in conserving water: Automatic irrigation features allow farmers to save water by eliminating over-watering the crops. Farmers can set the humidity levels’ set point limits, which helps to identify too dry and too wet moments.
Reduce operational expenses in growth and post-growth steps: IoT solutions eliminate the need for manual soil checks for humidity. Less manual trips throughout the farm mean fewer man-hours, which ultimately reduces the cost of production. Smart, isn’t it?
Sensoterra is a world leader in wireless soil moisture sensing, providing data-driven solutions for optimizing land and freshwater resources for agriculture, horticulture, landscaping, and Smart cities. LoRaWAN technology and wireless connectivity empower better decision making for land management through smart soil moisture measurements. With thousands of Sensoterra sensors in the ground, generating over 60 million data points globally, Sensoterra grows every year and have been supporting from small to big-ag growers.
Curious to see how Sensoterra can help your crop yield? Check our case studies!
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Caroline is a Soil Data Manager at Sensoterra. Previously, she worked as a laboratory analyst, responsible for data analysis of roots and soil, identifying pesticide contamination and plant accumulation. Her background is in Environmental Science, with a Masters's degree in Water & Environment from Radboud University.Get in touch