Internet of Things in Agriculture: understand how it is applied in practice
Technology took off and landed with the Internet of Things bringing numerous facilities to agriculture. The possibilities are endless, and many are already being applied to improve the farmer’s life and improve performance of agricultural activities.
The use of sensors connected via the Internet to systems that process the information received and forward maps, graphs and reports indicating necessary actions and the most strategic locations seem to constitute a futuristic scenario, but it is already real.
Continue reading and understand how the Internet of Things is applied in practice on a farm.
What is IoT?
IoT is the acronym for the Internet of Things. The expression refers to the interconnection of everyday devices and objects capable of exchanging data with each other via the Internet.
Therefore, using intelligent sensors and appropriate software, objects connect and become part of the extensive communication network with people.
The technology and connected way of life that modern society has been adopting make IoT an expected and continually evolving phenomenon. Thus, the emergence of new inclusions of objects on the network previously inert but now active, triggered and triggering others, is increasingly noticeable.
As a result, information, comfort and practicality are incorporated into domestic and productive routines. The most intricate equipment and the simplest objects exchange information with each other, translating into some sort of action.
That way, when you enter the parking lot of a shopping centre, for example, sensors realize your presence. Therefore, they receive and signal the information to other sensors, which, in turn, trigger green lights indicating nearby vacancies. Another example is the sensor that turns on the lights and informs the coffee maker to prepare coffee when a person gets out of bed.
These simple examples of artificial intelligence applied to personal routines can represent several possibilities when used in a productive environment, such as industry or agriculture.
How is the Internet of Things used in agriculture?
The agricultural field was not immune to this technology. IoT is already present in farms and signals a promising future, with improvements in actions efficiency and productivity impacting results.
Check out some ways to apply the Internet of Things to agriculture.
Demand for irrigation identification
The need for water for crops is indisputable. However, when applied in the appropriate amount and at the most favourable moment, the results enable the crop’s maximum productivity.
In this sense, knowing in which regions of the farm that water is most needed is as essential as understanding the best time to provide it and in the most appropriate volume. All this is to be done by IoT.
For this purpose, sensors strategically positioned on the ground inform the command centre, which activates the irrigation system in a particular are of the farm. Only the region providing a request will be irrigated, optimizing work, energy and resources.
Likewise, when reaching satisfactory humidity indices, the dialogue resumes. This time, the sensors inform the irrigation system that it can already be shut down.
Identification of the need for soil correction
As in the case of water, sensors installed in the soil can also measure parameters such as pH (referring to soil acidity) and nutrient content. With this, they can identify local demands and allow a mapping of correction needs (liming, fertilization).
Associated with drone images, these data allow different diagnoses about nutritional deficiencies. Consequently, the correct measures for the solution can be planned and strategically triggered promptly.
Diagnosis of the crop with the use of drones
The use of drones on agricultural properties has brought a infinity of practical solutions. Its integration via the Internet with sensors, GPS, and other equipment facilitated the acquisition of information and the system’s taking of actions and by the farmers themselves.
In this sense, performing a diagnosis of crop health has become a less laborious operation. Without the need to travel miles inside the plots and blocks, the drone brings significant time savings in addition to accuracy.
Also, provided with GPS and sensors for imaging, drones connected to appropriate systems allow:
- definition of the booth (number of plants);
- analysis of plant height;
- identification of health conditions;
- identification of the formation of weed in affected plants (diseases and pests);
- analysis of weed competition;
- measurement of nutrient content in the plant;
- canopy cover.
Use of smart greenhouses
Greenhouses are protected environments whose conditions of luminosity, humidity and temperature need to be controlled, either for the production of seedlings or for intensive agriculture. In general, this control is manual and mechanical, making use of its covers, sprinkling and other management measures.
With the implementation of IoT, sensors for each environmental condition “talk” with the respective systems, which come into play. Thus, the light intensity can be regulated, and the ventilation system can be activated.
Likewise, the opening of screens lightens and airs the environment, while the irrigation system initiates the water supply. All these integrated actions can be transmitted via the Internet to management software, which records and analyses the various interventions.
Subsequently, reports and graphs can deliver the conditions achieved to the farmer. And so, adjustments can be provided, if applicable.
Crop pest control
Anticipating the damage that a pest infestation can cause to the crop is a significant operational and economic advantage.
Thus, the control of harmful insects can be carried out by installing traps that use attractive pheromones. From the identification of the presence in a given degree of the infestation, sensors warn the system, which maps the occurrence points.
From then on, it is possible to plan localized control actions without working on the entire cultivated area. High input, time and work savings can then be achieved and the significant reduction of the amount of dispersed product, reducing the environmental impact.
The Internet of Things in agriculture has no turning back. The opportunities that it has already granted the farmers indicates a real-time interactive technology that will be increasingly applied in the field.
If you liked this article, subscribe to our newsletter and stay on top of what is best in farming technology.