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Three precision agriculture IoT case studies

The internet of things (IoT) is helping farmers in developed and emerging countries improve the productivity of agriculture

Precision agriculture can help farmers deal with a number of challenges such as water shortages, the limited availability of suitable lands for crop plantings, the difficulties farmers have managing costs through the implementation IoT systems and technologies in order to essentially reduce potential missteps and, in turn, maximize yields.

Precision agriculture uses IoT applications, which help farmers to increase the quality, quantity, sustainability and cost effectiveness of agricultural production. These tools allow the farmers to know what seeds to plant, the amount of fertilizer they need to use, the better time to harvest as well as the expected crop outputs. Through the implementation of IoT, farmers can also monitor sensors that can be used to detect soil moisture, crop growth and livestock feed levels, among other key functions. The sensors can also remotely manage and control connected harvesters and irrigation equipment.

Certain IoT platforms used in the agriculture industry allow farmers to manage the big amounts of data collected from sensors, cloud services such as weather or maps, connected equipment and existing systems.

Telenor and dtac in Thailand

In Thailand, local telecommunications firm dtac, fully owned by Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor, has launched a precision farming IoT solution through a partnership with Thailand’s Department of Agricultural Extension (DOAE) and the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC).

Through this new smart farming solution, the telco and the government agencies aim to equip local farmers with the technology they need to face challenges, such as climate change, plant disease and soil moisture.

Dtac and its partners have launched a one-year pilot project that introduces this IoT based solution to monitor, analyze and predict the factors affecting cultivation. The new solution will allow farmers to have access to a more precise farming system that should help increase crop yields, control quality of agricultural products and reduce production costs.

Dtac is responsible for the wireless internet connectivity and cloud computing, while NECTEC will develop and research on sensory system with the aim to look for indicators of planting standards.

In another precision farming case study, mobile operator Vodafone is helping farmers in New Zealand to improve performance and reduce costs through precision farming tools.

Vodafone precision farming

Vodafone’s Precision Farming solution allows farmers to use only the amount of fertilizer they need. A special GPS Farming device is installed in the vehicle spreading the fertilizer and data is sent via Vodafone’s network to Precision Farming’s secure server. This data is then overlaid on a computerized map, so the farmer can login and see where every last kilogram has been deposited. With accurate feedback from their fertilizer program, farmers can instantly spot any wastage and adjust their next order.

Vodafone’s Precision Farming system relies on GPS and machine-to-machine technology. The operator supplies the special SIMs required, and the Precision Farming system is linked to Vodafone’s network to ensure continuous transmission of data from the field. The system provides constant monitoring of the width and rate of fertilizer application, so farmers can check the virtual trail left by the fertilizer spreader and fine-tune their farm management accordingly.

The precision agriculture system can be applied to other activities, such as spraying and effluent spreading, to ensure farmers get optimum results from all substances applied to the land.

Libelium in Colombia

In Colombia, local organization Red Tecnoparque Colombia has deployed a wireless sensors network with Libelium technology to monitor crops in Lembo area, in Santa Rosa de Cabal region.

Red Tecnoparque Colombia has selected Spanish firm Libelium’s Waspmote Plug & Sense! Sensor Platform to develop a precision agriculture project with remote sensors. Plantain crops have been monitored with different sensors added to Waspmote Plug & Sense!

Libelium’s sensors allow producers to monitor key parameters including humidity, temperature, soil moisture, soil temperature, trunk diameter, fruit diameter, pluviometer and solar radiation.

Through the monitoring of these parameters, Redcom Tecnoparque can remotely supervise ambient and agronomic variations to investigate new banana varieties. This solution also lets them to know harvesting projection, to optimize water usage, to prevent plagues and diseases, to reduce fertilizers consumption and to classify soils.

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