The world’s total populace will develop to around 9 billion individuals in 2050 bringing about a higher utilization of food and its derivatives. The rapid growth of food demand due to the growing population worldwide is enhancing the need for agricultural technology. Smart agriculture is an innovative way of implementing agricultural activities by reducing human efforts and using the best available resource from mechanization to prescision farming, Internet of Things, Global Positional System (GPS) etc.
Smart agriculture helps automated agriculture collect and analyze field data to enable the farmer to make the right decisions for the production of high-quality crops. Field data can be obtained with ease using sensors and cameras which the data collected is transmitted to the farmer for decision-making. The use of modern GPS enabled farm machinery (tractors), precision farming tools for crop and land monitoring will transform your farm.
Precision agriculture will help farmers to make accurate and timely decisions on some agricultural aspects necessary for crop growth and development. A critical example is the use of sensors in agriculture such as soil moisture and temperature sensor, soil pH sensor, etc. The purpose of these sensors will help in proper monitoring of concurrent soil and plant conditions in a more convenient way to boost the productivity of your farm.
Prescision farming application of soil sensors
Using moisture sensor will help farmers know the actual soil available water and amount of crop water requirement making irrigation decisions and amount of water applied for adequate water usage and conservation instead of hand-feeling the soil for manual determination.
Optimum soil temperature is required for seed germination, directly affecting plant growth in photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration and giving life support to microbial soil organisms. Thus, the need for precise measurement of soil temperature. Crops require different temperature ranges for optimum growth and development. Thus, temperature sensors such as nanomaterials can help the farmer to make right decisions on the types of crops to cultivate on a particular soil surface and also to determine the exact time to plant.
The pH range of the soil is the level of acidity or alkalinity of the soil, and this significantly influences the agricultural productivity of any farmer. Soil pH affects the nutrient availability in the soil. The smart determination of the pH using sensors gives the farmer a preview of possible nutrient deficiencies and to antagonize this with nutrient supplement solutions.
Smart farming application of drones
A drone, otherwise known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is a system which involves the application of remote sensing, a method of acquiring information about an object without getting in direct contact with it. The working principle of a drone varies independently: either controlled using a remote by a human operator or independently by onboard computers. Drones used as a platform or vehicle to convey sensors, navigation systems or recording devices which include infrared and RGB cameras can fly at very high altitudes to capture images of high pixels and resolution. These images can applied conventionally to agriculture to monitor crop and land to improve crop growth and development, prevent natural disasters and also to recover already damaged cropping lands.
Drones can be useful at the beginning of a cropping cycle. They produce precision three-dimensional maps for early soil analysis, helpful in planning before planting seedlings. After sowing, soil analysis by a drone provides data for irrigation needs, evaluate crop health and detect bacterial or fungal infections in the cropping environment.
Scanning crops using visible light and near to infrared radiation, vehicular carriers can identify plants that reflect different amounts of green light and NIR light. The multi-spectral images generated at different time intervals are analyzed to examine differences over time in the plant’s health status.
Greenhouse cultivation is a modern technology that is applied for improving the yield of crops; vegetables, fruits, cereals, etc. Greenhouses allow better control through the manipulation of environmental factors such as climate, temperature, rainfall, and irrigation, etc. Because a shift caused by climatic fluctuations away from the optimum environmental conditions needed by a plant for its growth leads to reduced yield, increased labour costs, and less effective.
Greenhouses can be constructed with the application of IoT to intelligently monitor and controls the climate, eliminating the need for manual intervention. Various sensors are used to measure environmental parameters based on the requirements of the plant. Servers are created in the cloud to access, process and control the system through remote sensing when connected through IoT. This design provides cost-effective and optimal solutions for farmers with less of hand-operated control.