How to Use the Internet of Things for Agriculture

Internet of Things: 5 applications in Agriculture

For instance in China, pilot projects are underway to tap on the potential applications of IoT for agriculture projects. An initiative was launched in January this year to modernize the industry in cities such as Tianjin, Shanghai, and Anhui.

Here’s a look at some of ideas already being implemented to help the agriculture industry grow.

1) Climate control in greenhouses
Temperature, humidity, light intensity, and soil moisture can be monitored through various sensors. These can then be linked to systems to trigger alerts or automate processes such as water and air control. They can also be set up to look for early signs of pests or disease.

An example of an IoT approach isHarvestGeek, an open-source wireless greenhouse monitoring and automation system.

2) Logistics coordination
Through GPS, RFID, and other location-based sensors, goods such as vegetables can be tracked and monitored visually during transportation and storage. This can also facilitate scheduling and add further automation in the supply chain.

3) Food safety
The entire supply chain – from the farm, logistics and retail – is set to become even more connected with information. Food products and ingredients can be tagged via RFID for tracking and tracing, and help raise the level of transparency and consumer confidence.

One company pushing the food safety cause is Elektron Technology, with its cloud-enabled platform Checkit to enable real-time, remote monitoring of food storage and preparation areas. The platform helps make it easier for multi-site restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and other businesses to enforce process compliance and reduce the cost of food safety management.

4) Crop monitoring
The Technical University of Madrid has built an experimental farm robot called the Rosphere, which is armed with sensors and can potentially monitor every single stalk in a field. These robots can be configured to communicate to one another over a network. The data can be collectively used to build information sets such as crop yield maps, and further linked to information such as current crop prices.

The Rosphere robot can help monitor individual stalks in a crop field.

5) Efficiency in livestock farming
The health of farm animals such as cattle or chicken can be monitored to detect potential signs of disease. This can be linked to a central system which can trigger relevant advice to be sent to farmers, and contribute towards analytics that can be used to identify any outbreaks or trends.

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