3 Ways IoT (Internet of Things) is Applied to Agriculture
Sun, April 18, 2021

3 Ways IoT (Internet of Things) is Applied to Agriculture

Some factors that affect the growth of the agriculture IoT market are the “rising demand for agricultural production, ” increased adoption of IoT and AI technology among others. / Photo credits by Lamyai via Shutterstock

 

 

The amount of food we produce is enough to feed 10 billion people, but over 800 million of them were suffering from undernutrition as of 2017, according to Joe Brooker and Alan Griffiths of media company RFID Journal and international organization United Nations. Per the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, 2 million people are expected to be undernourished by 2050. 

Hence, there is a need to improve the world’s agricultural productivity and sustainable food production systems to achieve zero hunger. The agriculture sector provides 40% of today’s global population, making it the “single largest employer in the world.” For poor rural households, agriculture is their source of income. IoT will be a game-changer in agriculture, which will maximize productivity and minimize waste. 

Agriculture IoT Market Statistics

The agriculture IoT industry is expected to grow to $20.9 billion by 2024, up from $12.7 billion in 2019 at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 10.4% from 2014 to 2019, as reported by market research platform PR Newswire. 

Some factors that affect its growth are the “rising demand for agricultural production” due to the booming population, increased adoption of IoT and AI technology by farmers and growers, and focus on improving farming efficiency through livestock monitoring and disease control. Technological innovations such as guidance systems, variable rate technology, IoT, AI, and remote sensing enabled the agriculture sector into a “technologically-intense and data-rich industry.” 

Smart technologies in the said industry help increase profitability, improve sustainability, protect the environment, and reduce the consumption of resources such as energy, water, and fertilizers. IoT is implemented in livestock monitoring, precision farming, fish farming, smart greenhouse, and precision forestry.   

Interestingly, hardware is forecasted to account for “the largest share of the agriculture IoT market during the forecast period,” cites Oregon-based news service Communal News. As more farmers adopt more new technologies and advanced devices for smart agriculture, the agriculture IoT market for hardware is expected to soar during the forecast period. 

For example, precision farming allows farmers to utilize hardware devices and tools to “minimize input and maximize crop productivity.” Moreover, automation and control systems like GPS receivers, guidance, and steering devices, as well as variable rate technology (VRT) tools are also essential in the precision farming industry. 

 

 

As for software, it is projected to rise “at the highest CAGR during the forecast period,” said BusinessWire, a Berkshire Hathaway company. Software and information technology tools are being adopted by farmers and agriculturists, as these play a significant role in “farm management solutions in smart agriculture.” Software can be used for data management, data security, stock management, farm work mapping, and crop health monitoring.     

Notably, the Americas is forecasted to hold “the largest share of the IoT agriculture market during the forecast period.” There are already large-scale players within the region who utilize advanced agricultural technologies to bolster the speed and accuracy of their “planting and crop management techniques.” The US and Canada are the early adopters of IoT technologies in agriculture, which further contributes to the growth of the IoT agriculture market in the Americas. 

How Is IoT Applied In Agriculture? 

 

One example of how Intenet of Things or IoT is applied in agriculture is through drones as this tool saves time and has the potential to increase yields. / Photo credits by Suwin via Shutterstock

 

1. Precision Farming/Agriculture

A guest writer from leading media technology platform IoT For All wrote precision farming makes the farming practice “more controlled and accurate.” Automated hardware, robotics, VRT, etc. are the key to precision farming. Access to high-speed internet, mobile devices, and low-cost satellites are also useful. In fact, numerous organizations are utilizing IoT applications in the agriculture industry. 

For instance, agriculture organization CropMetrics focuses on “ultra-modern agronomic solutions” and precision irrigation management. It includes VRI optimization, soil moisture probes, virtual optimizer PRO, and the like. VRI optimization maximizes profitability on irrigated crop fields. It also makes water consumption more efficient and improves yields. 

Soil moisture probes provide recommendations on optimizing water consumption, while the virtual optimizer PRO combines technologies into “one central, cloud-based, powerful location.” Farmers can take advantage of this tool using its simplified interface. 

2. Agricultural Drones

The benefits of using drones in agriculture are integrated GIS mapping, crop health imaging, and soil and field analysis. Drones even save time and may have the potential to increase yields. For example, organization PrecisionHawk uses drones for in-flight monitoring and observations. The data gathered from the drones will be used to draw insights regarding yield prediction, plant height measurement, weed pressure counting, and more.  

3. Livestock and Weather Monitoring

Farm owners can use IoT applications to monitor the health and location of their cattle. IoT will allow them to find out which of their cattle is sick, so they can separate it from the herd to prevent disease from spreading. Labor costs will be lowered since farmers can locate their cattle with IoT sensors. 

These sensors can also be used to monitor the weather, which can be connected to moisture sensors installed all over a farm. The latter will be connected to a sprinkler system. IoT will then take “periodic forecasts,” compare and analyze moisture levels, and decide “when or for how long to turn on the sprinklers.” 

IoT has the potential to change the agriculture industry for the better. IoT also shows how technology and farmers can work side-by-side to increase yields or monitor the health of crops and cattle without additional labor costs. Further, Farmers are essential in providing the world’s population with food. Hopefully, digital technologies will aid in eliminating world hunger.