According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization survey, by 2050, world population is expected to increase to 9.1bn. In return, food production is to increase to 70% by 2050 compared to 2006 to feed the growing population.
An estimated one in nine people suffer from chronic undernourishment, and that’s a problem. Quantity reduction of fertile land, climate change, high energy cost — all of this makes the production of sufficient food quite difficult.
In order to meet the world’s food demand, the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly important – growing yield, reduce operating and labor costs, and improving workflow, agricultural companies invest in developing Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and smart farming initiatives.
There are many IoT applications that can solve various tasks and challenges, including those for remote equipment monitoring, climate and water control in greenhouses, livestock tracking, crop monitoring, predictive maintenance, and much more. Intelligent technologies are most actively introduced into small-scale field ambulance, livestock, and fishery.
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Agricultural drones have been gaining popularity and being introduced to many industries. Drones can be effectively used to plan and manage all agricultural production stages, as well as for the chemical treatment of crops and other plants. Drones enable farmers to receive up-to-date advanced information when they need it. In addition, the information accumulated over a long period allows farmers to analyze the processes in dynamics.
Agricultural drones can replace humans in different operations, thus automating workflow and increasing performance. The drones capture high-resolution photographs to locate parasitic crop damage, monitor crop inventory to analyze the soil and can also be used for identifying farm-borne diseases in livestock to improve the food supply.
Drones are also used for collecting landing information sufficient to accurately apply pesticides and herbicides where chemicals are needed. Therefore, farmers get the opportunity to save costs on the chemistry usage while preserving the environment.
Other applications include flying around fields to monitor the work of employees, field monitoring for the detection of animals caught in the territory, and monitoring the location, use, and health of agricultural machinery.
Drones are also used for detailed mapping of farms, allowing farmers to make successful management decisions based on data specific to each zone. Lightweight and inexpensive drones can be equipped with compact multispectral sensors that measure key indicators characterizing crop health, aridity levels, nitrogen deficiency, and so on.
Sensors and smart devices
Sensors and smart devices play an important role in the creation of smart farms. Placed on agricultural equipment and machinery, a large network of sensors can collect data about location, temperature, energy consumption, and health conditions and continuously transmit information on the status of controlled objects to a monitoring center for storage and analysis.
With the help of blockchain – farmers can integrate the system with written into the code instructions of the way it should work. Also, by using blockchain with IoT, farmers can ensure an immutable record of all data collected by IoT devices, safe data storage, and secure transactions.
Other areas where IoT devices are successfully used are crop monitoring, livestock tracking, climate control in greenhouses, and water conservation management.
Concerning trends in smart agriculture, unmanned vehicles are among the main and most important ones. There are a lot of advantages that unmanned vehicles can provide farmers. First and foremost, they will eventually allow the automation of all agricultural activities, including land cultivation, plant health monitoring, crop collection/storage, and more.
Companies are offering services for deploying specialized software on IoT platforms capable of intelligent processing of data collected by sensors. In this case, the main value for the market will be represented by specialists able to make successful decisions on the further development of farmland on the basis of gathered and analyzed information.
The platform effectively interacts with various industrial and communication technologies, protocols, and interfaces. Using artificial intelligence, it provides farmers with effective data management and predictive analytics capabilities.
At the moment, intelligent technology solutions are being widely introduced in the agriculture industry. Soon, we’ll see a ubiquitous integration of connected farms powered by the IoT and innovative technologies. For farmers, it can mean new business and cost-saving opportunities.