How does the internet of things work in agriculture?

Technology is spreading its roots in all spheres of life, from board rooms to living rooms. Businesses are automating and improving their processes. Believe it or not, farming is not lagging. Internet of things is becoming an integral part of agriculture.

As per the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the world population is likely to hit 9 billion by 2050. The surge in population will increase the demand for food. Thus, scientists and the Agri industry need to come up with lasting solutions. The first step of smart and sustainable agriculture is to integrate the internet of things with farming.

In this article, we will discuss the benefits and use cases of IoT in agriculture.

What is the Internet of Things?

Every day we use gadgets like smart fitness devices, self-driven cars, home assistance like Google Home or Alexa. All these are the internet of things (IoT). It is the concept of connecting a device to the internet and other corresponding devices.
The IoT is a large network that is collecting data around the clock. Such data has a multitude of use and can serve several purposes. We are leveraging these technologies daily in our offices and homes. Now agriculture has also joined the race and is benefitting from it.

What is smart agriculture?

Modern agriculture has many names, and the most popular is AgriTech. It refers to the actions of applying technology to agriculture. But smart agriculture is the use of the internet of things in agriculture and farming. IoT is helping farmers make better and informed decisions.

Devices like IoT sensors can collect data and provide actionable insights to farmers on various matters. Farmers can use them for crop monitoring, cattle farming, climate prediction, etc.
Although smart agriculture is not popular among the masses, farmers on a global scale are adopting it. The Covid-19 pandemic has aggravated the growth of these types of equipment. Experts believe that the universal smart agriculture market will reach $ 15.3 billion by 2025.

Benefits of implementing the Internet of Things in agriculture

The internet of things is advancing agriculture by leaps and bounds. The farming industry faces several challenges. The following are the benefits of the internet of things in agriculture:

 Access to quality data:
Some devices collect data to inform the farmers about soil quality, crop and cattle health, equipment efficiency, etc. Farmers are using this data to make informed and better decisions.

 Increasing efficiency through automation:
The internet of things can automate tedious tasks by delegating those to machines. Farmers can automate processes like irrigation, fertilization, harvesting with the help of machines.

Enhancing product quality and volume:

Data-powered agriculture is helping farmers identify methods to improve the quality of crops. It is so aiding the farmers in creating an ideal environment for the crops. This approach is allowing farmers to yield more high-quality produce

Real-time monitoring:
The use of IoT in agriculture is increasing the agility among farmers. Now they can understand and proact to weather changes, crop health, air quality, humidity, etc.

Better waste management:
A large part of the produce is wasted due to loopholes in the supply chain or inefficient crop management. IoT is putting an end to such wastage and preserving the product for use.

Improved cost management:
Farmers incur the cost of resources used in agriculture. Such costs sometimes increase crop prices. IoT helps farmers select those resources that have value for money and generate desirable outputs. Inefficient resources can be eliminated this way, saving money in the long run.

5 use cases of the Internet of Things in agriculture

The farming industry faces many challenges. Global warming, supply-chain gaps, heaps of unstructured data, lack of skilled workforce are a few of them. But IoT has come up with efficient solutions. Here are five use cases of the internet of things in agriculture.

Precision agriculture:
Farmers can use IoT sensors to collect accurate data on many facets of the field ecosystem. For example, soil sensors can test moisture levels, temperature, nitrogen levels, etc, of the soil. Such data can be analysed using predictive analytics and data analytics.

Crop management:
Similar IoT tools can be used to monitor crops. Farmers can position them at different points in the field. These products will check the crop growth and identify existing anomalies. They tell the farmer what the crops need.

Cattle monitoring:
IoT products can be used on farm animals too. Farmers can use drones to track their movements. They can also attach sensor collars on the animals to check their health, temperature, performance, nutrition, etc. It will help farmers isolate sick animals from the herd to avoid contamination.

Agricultural drones:
Drones have also found a job in agriculture. Farmers use these to map the field, identify areas that need irrigation or pesticides. Smaller drones are designed to help pollinate flowers, which was before done by bees.

Smart irrigation:
Right now, drip irrigation is popular among farmers. In this method, they can control the amount and flow of water. By integrating IoT sensors, it is possible to automate the irrigation process. In arid regions, limited water resources can be used efficiently through smart irrigation.

In the end…

The advent of technology is proving beneficial for all sectors. Farming and agriculture are an essential part of any economy. It provides fuel for all other activities. So, advancement in agriculture is a necessity. IoT plays a crucial role in promoting growth and stability in this industry.

The improved devices are helping farmers produce better quality crops and earn more revenue. They also warn the farmer of incoming natural conditions and potential threats. Such cues aid in strategizing protective measures.
It is safe to say that the internet of things has many uses in agriculture and will shape its future for the better.