How IoT Precision Agriculture and Smart Farming Works?

IoT Precision Agriculture and Smart Farming Works
What is Precision Agriculture?

Precision agriculture is a modern farming management method that leverages information technology (IT) for precise and controlled agricultural production. It involves observing, measuring, and responding to variability in crops across different fields. By utilizing advanced concepts such as IoT, sensors, and deep learning, farmers can ensure that their crops receive the required nutrients with high accuracy.

The primary objectives of precision agriculture are to enhance soil quality and productivity. Its applications include crop observation, storage monitoring, irrigation management, vehicle tracking, and livestock management.

How is IoT integrated into precision agriculture practices?

Precision agriculture involves real-time monitoring of soil, crops, weather conditions, and ambient air to make informed decisions. IoT sensors measure soil conditions such as temperature and moisture content, while drones and satellites capture real-time images of individual plants.

Predictive analytics software uses sensor data and imaging input to guide farmers on optimal planting and harvesting times, crop rotation, and soil management. Big data analytics provide insights on planting areas, field treatment requirements, and optimal water, pesticide, and fertilizer usage. Precision agriculture systems also include tracking solutions for monitoring vehicles, livestock, and other resources, and IoT-controlled lasers for efficient water distribution.

Precision Agriculture: Use Cases

Precision agriculture has traditionally been restricted to large-scale operations that could accommodate the IT infrastructure and technological resources required for full implementation and reaping its benefits. However, with advancements in mobile applications, smart sensors, drones, and cloud computing, precision agriculture is now accessible to farming cooperatives and small family farms.

Some of the most popular use cases of precision agriculture today include:

  • Agricultural mapping and field scouting through drones equipped with cameras that create high-resolution maps of fields to identify problem areas, track crops, and assess yield potential.
  • Using mobile apps for soil sampling and analysis to collect data on soil type, fertility, and moisture content to make informed decisions about irrigation, fertilization, and other crop management aspects.
  • Utilizing hyperlocal weather data to monitor weather conditions to determine the ideal time to plant, water crops, and harvest.

Precision agriculture can also assist in labor and equipment management. GPS-enabled mobile apps can track the location and activity of workers in the field, optimizing workflows, and ensuring efficient completion of tasks. Furthermore, agricultural equipment is expensive, and precision agriculture can help farmers keep track of their equipment, schedule maintenance, and plan for repairs, leading to better efficiency and cost savings. 

What is IoT-enabled Smart Farming?

Smart farming, akin to precision agriculture, aids in crop selection, optimizing resources, and reducing costs. It is the future of agriculture.

It involves using several technologies such as sensors, robotics, drones, connectivity, and location systems. IoT-based smart farming systems connect these technologies, allowing farmers to manage their farms more efficiently. IoT-based smart farming involves collecting and processing data from crops, soil, livestock, atmosphere, etc. through sensors.

Big data analytics systems then analyze the data to identify the problems and needs of crops and soil. Once issues are identified, the system determines which actions to take, such as location-specific treatment. Finally, farmers perform the identified actions, and the cycle repeats for smart farming automated and connected agriculture.

Real-life Applications of Precision Agriculture and Smart Farming

Precision agriculture and smart farming are becoming increasingly popular due to their potential to increase agricultural efficiency and yield. Here are some examples of how these technologies are being used:

  1. Crop Monitoring: Real-time data and information about crop conditions are gathered through IoT sensors. Farmers can then use this information for precision agriculture to make effective decisions about crop treatment, suitable agricultural areas for each crop, and the appropriate amount of fertilizer. 
  2. Crop Water Management: Precision agriculture and smart farming also involve determining the specific amount of water each crop requires and irrigating at the right time using IoT sensors. This reduces water wastage and improves crop quality. 
  3. Vehicle Monitoring: IoT sensors installed on agricultural equipment monitor their performance and condition. These sensors also track terrain irregularities through GPS technology, helping reduce downtime and optimize maintenance schedules. 
Smart Farming vs Precision Agriculture: Understanding the Distinctions

Smart farming and precision agriculture may appear to be similar concepts in definition, but there is a subtle difference between these two agricultural approaches. 

Precision agriculture primarily focuses on taking precise measurements of crops, soil, agricultural machines, and other relevant factors. On the other hand, smart farming involves collecting and interpreting data using IoT applications to make farming and agricultural operations more effective and efficient.


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