A recent data states that the “smart agriculture market is projected to reach USD 36.24 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 10.80% during the forecast period (2022-2030)”.
What is Smart Farming?
Smart farming is the concept of managing farms using advanced technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, drones, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance both the quantity and quality of products and optimise human labour required by production simultaneously. Every industry has benefited from the Internet of Things (IoT) for some time. Likewise, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been a boon for the agricultural industry in providing solutions to manage the time-consuming and vexing tasks; as well as revolutionising the way we perceive agriculture as a whole.
To implement smart farming, farmers need to be armed with state-of-the-art tools that help with monitoring their field conditions and make strategic decisions for both the entire farm as well as a single plant, without having to be physically present in the field. The Internet of Things (IoT), as we know, is the driving force of smart farming that connects machines and sensors to facilitate a data-driven and automated farming process.
Some of the advanced technologies that modern-day farmers implement include:
- Sensors: that helps with scanning and managing soil, water, humidity, and temperature.
- Connectivity: including both cellular and LoRa
- Software: including specialised software solutions targeting specific farm types or applications
- Location: both GPS and Satellite
- Robotics: such as autonomous tractors and processing facilities
- Data Analytics: including standalone analytics solutions and data pipelines for downstream solutions
These technologies put together facilitate machine-to-machine derived data. This data helps farmers oversee and manage their farming operations at a more granular level and ease their decision-making process.
Let us talk about the Internet of Things (IoT) based smart farming cycle.
Smart Farming Cycle
Drawing things from the internet and transmitting them over the internet is the core objective of the Internet of Things (IoT). To help with optimise the farming process, the Internet of Things (IoT) devices installed on a farm should be able to collect and process data in a repetitive cycle, enabling farmers to react quickly to issues that might be emerging. Smart farming follows the below-mentioned cycle:
- Observation: In the first step, the sensors record observational data from the crops, soil, livestock, or atmosphere.
- Diagnostics: Here, the sensor values are entered into a cloud-hosted Internet of Things (IoT) platform with predefined decision rules and models, which is also known as ‘business logic’. This helps in ascertaining the condition of the examined object and identifying any deficiencies or requirements.
- Decisions: Once the issues are addressed, the user and the machine learning-driven components of the Internet of Things (IoT) platform determine whether the location-specific treatment would be beneficial or not. If it is, then the next step needs to be followed.
- Action: In this next and final step, once the action is taken post evaluation, the cycle repeats from the beginning.
Now that we know about smart farming and the smart farming cycle, it is essential to outline the benefits of smart farming.
Advantages of Smart Farming
- Since smart farming makes the farming process more connected and intelligent, it helps in reducing the overall costs and improving the quality and quantity of the commodities, increasing the sustainability of agriculture and customer experience.
- With better control over production, cost management and waste reduction can be addressed.
- Since anomalies in crop growth or livestock health can be traced, the risk of losing yields can be eliminated.
- Also, automation enhances efficiency and with smart devices, multiple processes can be activated simultaneously. These automated services can enhance product quality and quantity by controlling production processes.
- With smart farming, meeting the forecast demand and on-time delivery of goods to the market can also be met.
Is Smart Farming Beneficial to Australian Agriculture?
We are aware that the Internet of Things (IoT) is the driving force behind smart farming in Australian agriculture wherein smart machines and sensors integrated on farms help in making the farming process data-driven and data-enabled, giving farmers decision-making power in real-time. The Internet of Things (IoT) also provides a platform for smart farming in Australia’s agricultural sector, driving not only the current generation but also the future generation of farming. This will therefore boost the profitability and visibility of smart farmers by allowing them the provision to make better decisions about their farms and fully integrate data-driven supply chains with direct marketing.
In Australian agriculture, smart farming is emerging into reality and is not just a concept. Smart farming coupled with the Internet of Things (IoT) is the base for a ‘third green revolution’, a concept that combines the application of information and communication technologies. Smart farming deals with devices like precision equipment, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and actuators, geo-positioning systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and robots.
The future of Smart Farming
Researchers have stated that smart farming will impact the future in two ways:
- Internet of Food, or Farm 2020: As a part of Horizon 2020 Industrial Leadership, the European Commission project, Internet of Food and Farm 2020 deals with research and regular conferences determining the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies for the European food and farming industry. There is a belief that a network of sensors, actuators, cameras, robots, drones, and other smart devices will introduce an unprecedented level of control and automated decision-making to agriculture, providing an enduring ecosystem of innovation in the oldest industries.
- Third Green Revolution: Smart farming and the Internet of Things (IoT)-driven agriculture put together can be termed a Third Green Revolution. This revolution deals with the application of data-driven analytics technologies like precision farming equipment, the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, robotics, etc.
Smart farming is the new trend to deliver a more productive and sustainable form of agricultural production, based on a precise and resource-efficient approach.
To know more about smart farming and independent farmer database, browse through the KG2 official website or get in touch with us!