IoT and AgTech

How IoT applies to Agriculture? What are the benefits of using IoT in agriculture?

We heard from Milo Wener, our class 4 speaker, about IoT application for solar Battery power Systems for the 500m people

Living off the grid in Africa. Similarly, new technology applications in agriculture are becoming much more needed, much more so if we look at the deep need to produce more food to feed the growing world population. “By 2050, the global population is expected to increase to around 9.8 billion people. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicts that the agriculture industry will need to produce 70% more food while only expanding their land usage by 5%” [1].

 

In AgTech (Technology applied to Agriculture), current applications involve thousands of sensors use to “improve water sustainability, imaging, production and ease of farming. Some examples are air and ground sensors, remote and infrared sensors, multispectral imagery and image recognition technologies. These applications of modern technology allow for easily accessible information on damage and better statistics on yield. In addition, integration with satellite imagery has enabled unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to provide autonomous operations and precision data gathering.”

Deploying these IoT devices and technology will greatly improve our ability to provide faster and sustainable food production for an ever-growing population.

 

So, what is really driving IoT application in farming is called precision agriculture. It “enables farmers to harness the Internet of Things (IoT) and deploy wireless sensors and weather stations to gather real-time data. This lets them respond to variable soil, moisture, and weather conditions across different plots of land. The benefits of precision farming include higher crop yields, reducing the risk of crop failure, minimizing operating costs, and selling crops for the highest price possible.” [2].

 

On the other hand, IoT technology will also enable greater transparency for consumer to track the food they are buying and consuming: [1] “With the IoT tagging each shipment and monitoring production, the data will be there to track an item from the farm to one’s plate/mouth. This technology could allow you to scan your food and see its path from a farm thousands of miles away or hundreds of miles away to its final sale in your hometown or city. There could be increased precision on product lists that could aid in reducing worries about allergens, personal preferences and requirements. In addition, it could provide general consumer satisfaction because consumers will know where their food originated. ”

 

According to the US department of Agriculture, “60% dealers in Agriculture offer some kind of variable-rate-technology services.

However, less than 20 percent of acreage is managed using these technologies due to the high cost. Ideally, as the benefits of precision agriculture become more well-known, the use of the technology will become more widespread, and the costs will decrease.”

 

[1]: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2018/04/24/how-iot-and-ioe-are-positively-disrupting-the-farm-to-fork-industry/#785b3e871841

[2]: https://www.ptc.com/en/product-lifecycle-report/how-the-internet-of-things-helps-grow-our-food

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4 comments on “IoT and AgTech”

  1. You make two good points about IoT in agriculture: precision agriculture and tracking. Wide adoption of these technologies would increase the productiveness and transparency of the food producers. Do you heard of or have in mind other applications for IoT in agriculture? At least I think there would be one application of IoT that could increase productiveness. That would be the use of IoT sensors in the equipment (tractors etc.) that would monitor the critical parts of the equipment, and that way preventatively forecast brakedowns by measuring e.g. shaking and temperature. That way the down time of agricultural equipment could be reduced when repairs could be done outside of planned use.

    This type of technology would also be applicable in other industries, especially with heavy machinery where down times are costly, such as mining, manufacturing or pulp and paper.

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    1. koski – I was thinking something similar as well. The great thing about IoT being such a loosely defined set of interconnected devices is that it can be used for many applications. What you’re suggesting seems to be something that manufacturers of agricultural equipment would be more interested in developing. This would be a good substitute for things like pre-scheduled inspections or service appointments. Equipment technicians from the manufacturer wouldn’t need to travel as much and/or the equipment wouldn’t be sent for repairs or maintenance when unnecessary.

      I think IoT could also be invaluable for monitoring large-scale weather patterns. For example, telemetry on buoys have been used for measuring maritime conditions. Perhaps this idea could be extended to monitoring other meteorological factors that could also be useful for agricultural planning.

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  2. IOT being deeply integrated to mass agriculture overall is a foreseeable future in my opinion. It is something that have always been considered, but was just a matter of waiting until technologies develop to fit a worldwide usage. Something I think that is needed to go hand in hand with sensor-technology or monitoring technology would be protection from weather disasters. As climate change negatively affect countries in low-latitude areas, to be able to detect and predict possible damage to crops would also require the means to protect those crops as well. Farmers being able to see data on their harvest’s well-being will come first, followed by technology to ensure that well-being.

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  3. The development and use of IoT in argriculture industry is definitely exciting. It will also be interesting to hear about your view and ideas about how the IoTs can be used to conduct research on crops and optimise the type of crops being planted.

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