The global population is projected to touch 9.6 billion by 2050. That’s a lot of mouths to feed, and climate change is not helping. From droughts to floods to fires, the climatic conditions are making farming more difficult. The implementation of IoT in agriculture or smart agriculture appears to be the only way to feed the ever-increasing population and be a game changer.
As per a report, the global IoT agriculture market size is expected to grow from $12.7 billion in 2019 to $20.9 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 10.4% from 2019 to 2024.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT) in Smart Agriculture?
Smart agriculture is a broad term that represents the type of agriculture where food production is powered by the IoT, big data, and advanced analytics technology.
The use of IoT in agriculture will enable farmers to increase productivity, perform efficient inventory management, and ultimately reduce cost and waste.
IoT in agriculture projects helps monitor the crop and field conditions using sensors. You can predict the amount of water, soil type, light, humidity, etc. needed by the crops.
The Benefits of Using IoT for Agriculture
There are quite a few benefits of using IoT for agriculture.
The ability to predict conditions: Due to erratic weather conditions, deteriorating soil, and irrigation issues, farmers need more insights to increase produce. Smart farming helps them predict weather conditions, decide on which fertilizers to use, and prevent issues with accurate predictions.
Efficient use of resources: Smart farming helps farmers predict the need for water, fertilizer, soil, pesticide, etc. using the data collected from the sensors placed in the fields. Farmers can then allocate the exact amount of resources for farming and reduce waste. This type of farming is also known as “Precision Farming”. It prevents the overloading of crops and soil with fertilizers and pesticides.
Better quality produce: Smart farming helps to increase the nutritional value of crops by helping farmers understand the individual requirement of each crop they grow.
Using drones and farm mapping, farmers can better understand the relationship between soil conditions and crop quality. Along with increased production, they can also ensure better crop quality using all this data.
Increased business efficiency: The analysis of the data collected using drones and sensors can help farmers keep a tab on their business. Functions such as inventory management, waste reduction, staff performance, market demand and supply, equipment efficiency, etc. can be handled efficiently with these data. By using IoT agriculture devices, farmers can automate various business processes, right from production to market supply. The automation of processes like irrigation, pest control, and fertilization, can improve business efficiency and raise profit margins.
IoT in agriculture market enables farmers to foresee market demand and accordingly plan for a customized crop cycle and product distribution. Farmers can predict the amount of harvested crop and market demand to minimize waste and maximize profit.
5 Top Tips on How to Use IoT in Agriculture
- Precision Farming and Monitoring of Climate ConditionsOne of the most popular applications of smart farming is in precision farming.
Precision farming is a process of making farming more accurate with the use of IoT agriculture devices, such as sensors, automated hardware, robotics, etc. with smart applications used for livestock monitoring, inventory management, and data analyses.
With precision farming, farmers can use the analyzed data to make quick and well-informed decisions.
With changing climatic conditions, it is critical to have a better understanding of the climate to be able to monitor and predict it. Farmers can now use IoT agriculture devices to obtain data regarding real-time weather conditions like rainfall, humidity, and precipitation. Sensors placed inside and outside the fields continuously collect data, which can then be used to decide which specific crops should be grown, as per the prevalent climatic conditions.
- Greenhouse automationIoT-enabled smart greenhouses automatically adjust the climatic conditions, depending on pre-set variables, parameters, and instructions. Automation in greenhouses has eliminated the need for human intervention and made the process more cost-effective and accurate, resulting in higher and better quality of produce.With the help of sensors, real-time data can be collected and used to monitor the greenhouse effectively. These can even be used to perform various farming functions like smart irrigation via emails or SMS.
- Crop managementToday, various companies have launched smart crop-management devices for smart farming. These devices can be placed in the fields to collect data regarding the condition of crops. From precipitation, water retention in crops, to overall crop health, many parameters regarding crop health can be measured using these IoT devices. This lets farmers detect any disease or infestation almost as soon as it happens, helping them contain the situation. This goes a long way in preventing loss of crop to insects or infestations.
- Cattle monitoring and managementIoT agriculture devices are used not only to monitor crops, but also to keep an eye on cattle and inventory. Sensors attached to farm animals can monitor their location (which help locate a missing animal) and health parameters like body temperature, activity, and nutrition needs. The sensors send real-time alerts to farmers in case of any health (or other) issue. This helps farmers isolate a sick animal from the herd to prevent the spread of disease, while providing optimal health care to the affected animal. This system also helps farmers care for pregnant cows that need more care; which reduces the death rate among cattle.
- Agricultural DronesAgricultural drones are another interesting example of IoT applications in agriculture.The drones are used to asses planting, soil and field conditions, crop health, crop spraying, and irrigation. Drones and sensors together have revolutionized the field of agriculture. They can identify soil requirements and analyze the changes required in irrigation. Moreover, they can analyze the health as well as vegetation index of the crop.
Top 3 IoT Agriculture Companies in India
An increasing number of companies have started to contribute to this field of smart farming. Let’s look at the top 3 IoT agriculture companies in India.
Fasal monitors farms and uploads the data regarding critical parameters to the cloud. The data is then analyzed and is made available to the farmer who can use it to make informed, timely decisions. The farmer is notified about farm-level information that is then used to predict ideal growth conditions and then allocate resources.
Cropin is a Bengaluru-based AgriTech company that provides solutions for farm management, monitoring, and analytics. They have used IoT in agriculture projects like
their flagship product SmartFarm, which is helping over five million farmers manage their farms better.
This Bengaluru-based AgriTech startup has developed products for crop inspection and product grading. This is done using computer vision-based solutions that read images and give quality data based on the input. This helps farmers scale their business effectively.
With such innovative devices and technologies being used in the agricultural sector, the future of crop production appears promising.
Watch out for our upcoming IoT platform, now in beta phase, which can be used to connect and control all IoT in agriculture devices!