Traditional farming has been, is, and will continue in the future to be a manual and labor-intensive industry. Farmers being confronted with a labor shortage, more stringent legislation, increasing global population and the declining numbers of farmers, forces them to look to new solutions. With technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Big data & Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) entering almost all industries. How can modern technologies in the case of agriculture and farming make a difference?
To address these challenges, efforts and research are in place to improve the quality and quantity of agriculture products by making them ‘connected’ and ‘intelligent’ through “smart farming”.
On top of that, climate change has accelerated the pace of unexpected floods and droughts, with smart farming you can predict if extreme weather conditions are going to occur and you can take actions to mitigate the damage.
What is Smart Farming?
Smart farming refers to an upcoming concept that combines conventional farms with new technologies such as IoT. The purpose of Smart farms is to increase the quality of agricultural products whilst optimizing human intervention. For instance, you could monitor a variety of things and take action while not being at your farm. Smart farming allows you to make informed decisions while technology does the work for you.
What do you need to make Smart farming possible? You need connected assets, they can collect the data and measure the performance and efficiency of e.g. crop quality, weather conditions, soil moisture.. You need an IoT cloud platform so it can record and store the data for you. The cloud platform itself should have a robust rules engine with handy features such as dashboarding and the ability to set up alarms. If something were to go wrong you would get notified in real-time Additionally, need to connect your sensors to the IoT platform. In the next section, we are going to look at a couple of applications of Smart farming.
When data is coming from multiple sources this can lead to data silos where valuable data can build up into a data lake where nothing occurs. The benefit of Waylay is that we connect the majority of device assets on a farm allowing for full visibility, and the added benefit of building automations at a fraction of the cost and more importantly time!
With Waylay you can take smart farming to the next level as applications are endless. For instance, you could set up a smart cattle feeder for your livestock that monitors their well-being and feeds them at the most optimal time. Or you could set up an automated watering system that waters your fields automatically based on a plethora of variables like moisture etc…
Benefits of Smart Farming
Smart farming can have a myriad of benefits on top of the usual pros such as better decision making, cost reduction and improved crop production both in terms of quality and quantity. Another benefit of smart farming is improved sustainability, by spending the most optimal amount of pesticides and fertilizers you will have a lesser impact on the environment. The same concept applies to the use of greenhouse gases.
By monitoring the eating habits of your livestock and thus giving your livestock higher quality food and more optimal times you can reduce the amount of CO2 emissions. By implementing all of these things you can make a great effort towards Climate-smart agriculture. A form of sustainable smart farming.
Applications of Smart farming
Smart Cattle feeder
Like we mentioned before, a good place to start with your smart farming would be to set up a smart cattle feeder. Let’s say you cannot always be there for your animals but they need to be fed somehow, you could train your livestock to press a button whenever they need food or you could tweak the cattle feeder to automatically dispense food every 3-4 hours.
Additionally, you can set up the cattle feeder in such a way that monitors the eating habits and the well-being of your animals and dispenses the most optimal amount of food at certain time periods. We have a tutorial directed to Smart Pet feeders. The concept is similar to the Smart cattle feeder.
Another great application of the smart agriculture project is to automate your farm. You can automate anything from watering your fields to opening fences for your livestock to get in/out or you could set automation that monitors the status of your crops.
Additionally, you would get notifications when the nutritional levels of your crops reach a certain level or if one of your crops is damaged. With these insights, you will be able to take meaningful actions and prevent permanent damage to your crops or livestock.
Same principle as above, you could monitor the performance of your tractors and get alerts on whether they need repairs and gas. Additionally, you could monitor whether the tractors are going into a straight line and harvest the most optimal amount of crops.
Weather & climate conditions
Getting insights on climate conditions and whether they are favorable will allow you to estimate the crop yield. Consequently, you can make better decisions and be prepared for anything. You can inform suppliers that the crop yield will be lower to set expectations.
Greenhouses are used to manually control the necessary conditions to grow vegetables and fruits. However, having livestock and growing vegetables and managing everything on your own can get tiring quickly. With Waylay you can set up Smart Greenhouses to intelligently connect and monitor climate conditions without the need for manual intervention. The IoT sensors do the work for you, like turning off the lights, closing windows etc. You can then visualize everything inside the Waylay platform and create easy-to-read dashboards for effortless decision-making.
Waylay IO use cases