Agriculture is one of the oldest fields of human activity, but today it has well and truly entered the realms of digital transformation and has welcomed in new innovations such as assistive technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT).
And this is where the concept of connected farming comes in.
Connected farming is sustainable agriculture, which uses the latest information and communication technologies. In simple words, this is smart farming, where the Internet of Things plays a key role.
Through these innovative connected systems, growers can see the bigger picture in terms of their land and its use, resulting in more informed decisions and allowing for optimum yields.
What is Connected Farming, and What Does it Include?
IoT in agriculture is intended to help farmers to monitor vital information about fields and crops, such as air temperature, humidity and soil quality. For this purpose, remote sensors are used.
Connected farming can include the following features:
monitoring of agricultural machinery and equipment (location, consumption of fuel and lubricants, planning of agricultural works);
planning the application of irrigation and fertilisers;
remote monitoring of farm facilities (the state of stored products, data collection and control of air conditioning, heating and ventilation);
accumulation of statistics for the optimal choice of sowing crops;
short-term weather forecasts;
remote monitoring of temperature and humidity of air and soil of fields.
IoT systems in the agriculture and horticulture sectors can significantly increase the yields obtained from farmland. Sensors installed in the soil can provide real-time information on soil moisture and nutrient content, ensuring optimum growing conditions.
In addition, installing a large number of such sensors allows monitoring of the necessary soil parameters in small areas, reducing the need for fertilisers and unnecessary water for irrigation. With the help of sensors, such a system can receive a weather forecast and regulate irrigation, taking into account precipitation (snow, rain, wet foliage, etc).
Israel’s farmers grow vegetables and fruits on an area of just over 20,000 square kilometers, most of which is taken up by the desert. The country, seemingly not intended for farming, is making phenomenal progress in the agricultural sector through the adoption of agritech such as IoT systems and AI.
The scarcity of freshwater, resulting from low rainfall, makes the use of drip irrigation systems necessary and widespread. Plants receive exactly the required amount of water, and special sensors monitor this, collecting data on the condition of the soil on land.
Agricultural company Roots has developed smart pipes that are laid in the soil. The Root Zone Temperature Optimisation (RZTO) system calculates and sets the optimum ground temperature for each area. The water pipes heat the root zone in winter and cool it down during summer, maintaining a relatively stable temperature. In addition, pipes that run over the soil surface are used to condense moisture from the air and irrigate plants.
So, connected farming opens up great development prospects for agriculture and provides growers with an important competitive advantage by automating labour-intensive processes, saving resources and making accurate forecasts for strategically important decisions.