The art of farming evolution

In the hyper-digital environment, individuals are using electronic devices to stay connected with each other. The state-of-the-art technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), machine learning (ML), big data, virtual reality (VR), etc. are disrupting various industries and transforming their traditional models into digital ones. Farming is one of the old forms of agriculture. This industry has witnessed some major technological transformations over the last few decades. From handheld tools and horse-drawn plows to machinery and chemical fertilizers to sensors and drones, traditional farming evolved and shifted towards technology-driven processes. Today, by using numerous smart agricultural tech innovations, farmers have gained better control over growing crops and maintaining livestock. This is a result of integrating AI, cloud, and IoT-powered systems in farming better known as Smart Farming.

What is smart farming

Smart Farming is farming with the addition and application of modern technologies. Using systems and computers to control temperature from to keep the temperature at the ideal level, using humidity controllers, water spray systems, water flow control, and more. Smart Farming basically makes it so you are farming in optimum conditions at maximum growth and harvest capacity. This is what we are trained specialists in. Smart Farming is an emerging concept that refers to managing farms using modern Information and Communication Technologies to increase the quantity and quality of products while optimizing the human labor required.

Smart Farming is focused on the use of data acquired through various sources (historical, geographical and instrumental) in the management of farm activities. Technologically advanced doesn’t essentially mean that it is a smart system. Smart systems differentiate themselves through their ability to record the data and make sense out of it. Smart farming employs hardware (IoT) and software (SaaS) to capture the data and give actionable insights to manage all the operations on the farm, both pre and post harvest. The data is organized, accessible all the time and full of data on every aspect of finance and field operations that can be monitored from anywhere in the world.

Among the technologies available for present-day farmers are:

  • Sensors: soil, water, light, humidity, temperature management
  • Software:  specialized software solutions that target specific farm types or Applications agnostic IoT platforms
  • Connectivity: cellular, LoRa, etc.
  • Location: GPS, Satellite, etc.
  • Robotics: Autonomous tractors, processing facilities, etc.
  • Data analytics: standalone analytics solutions, data pipelines for downstream

Shift from traditional agriculture

In traditional farming, farmers need labors for handling crops and livestock. As a result, they waste resources on unnecessary things. But, with IoT-powered system, the farmers can gather data specifically related to crop farming like temperature, rainfall, soil quality, etc. At the same time, they can monitor the health of livestock and adjust their nutrition accordingly. Through the analyzed data, they can identify whether the animals are sick or not as well as monitor crop’s health and nutrition needs. If animals are sick, they are isolated from others to prevent the spread of disease. If plants are not well, then additional nutrition can be supplemented to them. In this way, farmers can manage their field activities smartly and efficiently.

Traditional farming

  • Same set of practices for cultivation of a crop throughout the region
  • Geo-tagging and zone detection not possible
  • Manual maintenance of all the field and finance data separately leading to errors
  • No way to predict weather
  • Application of fertilizers and pesticides throughout the field

Smart farming

  • Each farm is analyzed to see the suitable crops and water requirements for optimization
  • Satellite imagery detects the different zones in farms
  • Early detection and application at the affected region only, saving costs
  • Weather analysis and prediction
  • Field and finance data available in same place showing the profits, yields and patterns with simple reports.

IoT devices

In IoT-based smart farming, a system is built for monitoring the crop field with the help of sensors (light, humidity, temperature, soil moisture, etc.) and automating the irrigation system. The farmers can monitor the field conditions from anywhere. We use IoT device boards, whereby the board provides atmospheric data such as light level, barometric pressure, temperature, and humidity. Additional sensors are attached with the grove connectors. The board also includes a secure crypto processor with Google keys to enable connectivity with Google Cloud IoT Core services, allowing to securely connect to the device and then collect, process, and analyze the sensor data.

Precision Farming

Precision farming, or precision agriculture, is an umbrella concept for IoT-based approaches that make farming more controlled and accurate. In simple words, plants and cattle get precisely the treatment they need, determined by machines with superhuman accuracy. The biggest difference from the classical approach is that precision farming allows decisions to be made per square meter or even per plant/animal rather than for a field. By precisely measuring variations within a field, farmers can boost the effectiveness of pesticides and fertilizers, or use them selectively.

Precision Livestock Farming

As in the case of precision agriculture, smart farming techniques enable farmers better to monitor the needs of individual animals and to adjust their nutrition accordingly, thereby preventing disease and enhancing herd health. Large farm owners can use wireless IoT applications to monitor the location, well-being, and health of their cattle. With this information, they can identify sick animals, so that they can be separated from the herd to prevent the spread of disease.