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Top Applications of IoT in Agriculture – Detailed Study

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18th Jul, 2022
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Top Applications of IoT in Agriculture – Detailed Study

The face of major sectors has changed a lot in the past few years with the introduction of the internet. Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, IoT, and Deep Learning have helped advance both big and small businesses alike. 

A sector that has gained major benefits from this interference of technological advancement is the agricultural sector. From drones to computer imaging and greenhouse management, the Internet of Things has proved to be a reliable source of support in this sector in India. At once, it takes away the tedious grunt work and lets the humans focus on things that AI is still unable to manage.

Here is a detailed discussion about how the Internet of Things or IoT has helped in the growth of the agricultural sector in India. Please go through the whole article to learn more.

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IoT’s initiation in the agricultural sector

The first introduction of technological support in the agricultural sector began with sensors long back. However, the problem with that happened to be that sensors ultimately failed to provide live reports of the disturbance in the fields. They were designed to store data inside the memory drives attached to them, which could only be utilized to analyze things later. 

The IoT or Internet of Things has managed to provide this sector with highly receptive sensors connected to the cloud through a cellular network. This provides the parties concerned with live data, which ultimately helps them take quick actions without losing time and take the best crop development strategies. IoT has brought other advantages as well. 

For example, it helps the farmers monitor the water levels in their tanks. Again, this is also done in real-time, which is highly advantageous for the irrigation process. Framers can now track the growth of seeds by monitoring the whole resource consumption process and can also track the time it takes for seeds to grow into full-fledged crops. Thanks to IoT, farmers can now grow more crops with the same efforts in less time and with accurate data analysis.

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One of the major ways the Internet of Things has helped the agricultural sector is by introducing smart farming techniques. Today, farmers can track every important development of their crops from their devices in real-time via sensors. This has significantly increased growth rate as it helps them take quicker actions based on the soil’s moisture level, light, humidity, temperature, etc. It also automates the irrigation system, saving a lot of time. This process of growing food or crops cleanly and sustainably is also called the application of Information and Communication Technology in agriculture. 

The advantages of IoT reach even further than this with its help in organic farming, family farming, cattle management, preserving particular species and cultures, and maintaining high-quality products. The end result is a highly transparent process that aids environmental health as it manages water levels and optimizes input usage.

Here are some of the major applications of IoT that have benefited the Indian agricultural system tremendously.

Enhancing agricultural precision

Precision agriculture refers to the system that enhances the accuracy and systematic precision of the growth process of crops or raising livestock. There are a few major ways IoT is involved in making this process better. For example, the use of robotics, automated hardware, automation vehicles, variable rate technology, control systems, sensors, etc. The key aspect in this process is the access to high-speed internet, reliable but affordable satellites, and mobile devices to keep track of the status of their crops at all times. Precision agriculture seems to be one of the most famous applications of IoT in agriculture.

Helpful drones

Drones are one of the most effective ways the agriculture sector has benefited from the IoT initiation. Two types of drones are used in this sector for increased advantages. They generally help with the health assessment of the crops, irrigation, crop monitoring, planting, spraying pesticides, and analyzing the field. The aerial drones also help the farmers by providing multispectral, visual and thermal imagery while flying over the crops. It allows farmers to detect any disturbance sitting far away, saving time. Combining the live data acquired from the drones with proper strategy can give the agricultural sector a much-needed high-technological makeover.

Supervising livestock

IoT has also helped in the management and supervision of livestock for farmers. With trackers, drones and sensors, they can now keep a check on their cattle from anywhere. This helps in detecting sick animals. Farmers can promptly separate the sick animals from the herd to prevent the further spread of the disease. Thanks to IoT, tracking lost animals has become easier. Some technologies also help detect pregnant animals, even predicting their water breaking time. This enables the farmers to get the necessary help in time, making sure the animals don’t suffer.

Effective greenhouse planning

Greenhouses aim to increase the growth of crops, vegetables, fruits, etc. These often need extra care, specific temperatures, and other factors through manual intervention or an automated control system. However, human intervention often leads to production loss, time loss, and labor costs. This is why an IoT-powered smart greenhouse is a better alternative. These smart greenhouses can supervise and maintain the metrics (temperature, pressure, humidity, light, etc.) of the greenhouse independently, without any help at all. It is equipped with different kinds of sensors placed in strategic locations inside the greenhouse. They are connected to the cloud by cellular data that provide real-time information to the farmers.

Climate supervision

Climate is one of the major factors in crops production in the agricultural sector. It heavily impacts the growth as different types of produce demand specific climatic conditions. Even a small disturbance in the weather can heavily impact both the quality and quantity of crops. With the help of IoT, farmers can keep track of the weather conditions at all times and prepare themselves in advance. The sensors spread across the field analyze what crop would be best suited for the soil in that particular condition and allow farmers to make immediate decisions.

Remote sensing

Remote sensing is another significant contribution of IoT to agriculture. Basically, highly receptive sensors capable of providing real-time information to the farmers are placed all over the field. They keep the farmers updated on the condition of the crops, weather conditions, and soil conditions by storing valuable data that is then forwarded to analytical tools to come at the best-suited solution. 

Computer imaging

This process includes the sensors providing images to go through digital image processing. It helps in the quality control by comparing the images of the fresh crops with images in the database to analyze the growth, color, and shape of the crops. Computer imaging helps with crop mapping, vegetation segmentation, crop counting, yield prediction, weed identification, disease detection, and much more. 

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IoT has made many new possibilities open in the agricultural sector in India. With sensors and smart farming, the time and effort needed has lessened significantly. They can keep track of their crops remotely.

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Pavan Vadapalli

Blog Author
Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What is IoT?

IoT or the Internet of Things is the system that helps improve connectivity to aid people in their daily lives and jobs. Things embedded with sensors, drones, and other digital machines are part of the Internet of Things.

2How do drones help in the agricultural sector?

Drones, both land-based and aerial, are significant in this field. From planting to watching them grow and spraying pesticides, they have become irreplaceable. Providing imagery only adds to the benefits.

3Does a smart greenhouse mean more growth?

Smart greenhouses are operated by automated techniques that control the temperature, humidity, and other things as needed immediately. This ultimately results in more growth in less time.

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