Future of IoT in Agriculture in India, IoT Challenges, Benefits

Introduction to scope and future of IoT in agriculture in India: In the Internet of Things (IoT) – based smart farming, a system is built for monitoring the crop field with the help of sensors like light, humidity, temperature, soil moisture, etc and automating the irrigation system. IoT is an integration of several technologies, for example, sensors, actuators,  embedded systems,  networks,  wireless communication,  and web technologies,  etc.

The  IoT based smart objects must have unique identities,  and they should have abilities to communicate and interact with each other, and with other entities in the network,  along with the mobile and web-based platforms.  Many technologies and standards have been proposed for realizing  IoT vision,  and the interoperability of heterogeneous entities is a  main challenge in the area.  The applications of IoT in the agriculture industry have helped the farmers to monitor the water tank levels in real-time which makes the irrigation procedure more efficient. The advancement of IoT in agriculture operations has brought the use of sensors in every step of the farming process such as how much time and resources a seed takes to become a fully-grown plant. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • Implementation of IoT in agriculture
  • How can IoT help in agriculture
  • Benefits of IoT in agriculture
  • Challenges of IoT in agriculture
  • Future scope of IoT in agriculture
  • Scope of IoT in agriculture
  • Can IoT work without Internet
  • Advantages and disadvantages of IoT in agriculture

A guide to the future of IoT in agriculture in India, advantages and disadvantgaes of IoT

The Internet of Things is the network of devices that have electronics, software, sensors, and connectivity which allows these things to connect, interact and exchange data. In this example, the IoT system does not need to be connected to the Internet. The benefits that the farmers are getting by adapting the IoT system are twofold. It has helped farmers to decrease their costs and increase crop yields.

The IoT technology in agriculture is more efficient due to the following reasons;

  • Global Connectivity through any devices.
  • Minimum human efforts
  • Faster Access
  • Time Efficiency
  • Efficient Communication

How will the Internet of Things (IoT) shape the future of the agri-tech industry?

With adverse climatic conditions, an Indian farmer can’t predict and plan farming activities. Therefore, there is a dire need for a system that could provide precise and accurate information about crop cultivation needs. Below are the few ways in which IoT will shape the future of the agri-tech industry:

Soil Sensors – Soil sensors measure vital components of soils such as pH value, acidity, salinity and important nutrients such as Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. This data is then transmitted to the main controller which automates the procedure of releasing essential fertilizers and soil conditioners through drip irrigation technology.

Water management – Technological innovations like drip irrigation has helped in water management, though, there needs to be more done to ensure the crops get the plants when they need them most.

Integrated pest management or control (IPM/C) – Pests are a farmers’ biggest enemy and they destroy their crops, and the farmer has to incur losses or spend a lot of available resources to rescue whatever is possible. To prevent this problem, IoT will play a major role in identifying the pests at the right time.

Hydroponics and Aeroponics – IoT system has made possible the invention of Hydroponics and Aeroponics. These systems are made up of different sensors, pumps, mixers and humidity controllers which send in a lot of data at regular intervals. All Hydroponic systems and Aeroponic systems are fully automated and connected by IoT.

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IoT Hydroponic System.
IoT Hydroponic System.

IoT for agriculture for remote monitoring

Crop monitoring is future of IoT in agriculture in India

A crop monitoring device is another major element of precision farming. Similar to weather forecasting stations, these devices are placed in the farm to collect data necessary for farming, including the temperature of the soil, precipitation to leaf water potential, as well as overall crop growth.

Livestock management and monitoring are future of IoT in agriculture in India

Similar to crop monitoring, there are IoT system devices that can be used to monitor the health of livestock and track their performance. Large farm owners could use wireless sensors to gather data regarding the location and health of their livestock, which can reduce labor costs such as ranchers to locate cattle. IoT devices could inform farmers regarding those animals that are suffering from diseases and separate them from the herd, preventing the spread of the disease.

Climate monitoring and greenhouse farming are future of IoT in agriculture in India

The IoT for climate monitoring is probably the most popular among farmers. As the devices are combined with smart farming sensors and they collect various data from the environment and sent it to the cloud to map the climate condition. With the help of this data, farmers select appropriate crops and take the necessary measurements to improve the crop yield.

How does IoT apply to agriculture?

The IoT, in general, refers to devices that share information over the internet and can act on one another. IoT in agriculture is a subset of the IoT space which focuses on generating data on crops and livestock, assessing their health, to associated problems more efficiently than relying on human input.

The main function of IoT in agriculture is to introduce a circle of monitoring, decision making, and action into farming. First, connected sensors take measurements on a crop condition. The vast amounts of data are condensed into a format that can be easily interpreted by farmers. The obvious result is increased efficiency. By having pertinent data at their fingertips at all times, farmers can make informed decisions on necessary crop treatments. They can predict yields and plan out associated labor costs. This is called precision farming.

IoT is closely tied to automation, so less human input and fewer workers are required. The resulting increases in crop yield and decreases in overhead and logistical cost make farming more profitable. Also, that’s not just true for large-scale farming operations either small family farms, organic farms, or even rooftop gardens can benefit from IoT adoption.

IoT challenges in the agriculture sector

IoT system is thought of as the greatest change agent in the agriculture industry for upcoming years. IoT system enables farm managers with real-time crop monitoring, precision farming, livestock management, and smart greenhouse management, etc.

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Unfortunately, the rate of attrition of the workforce from the agriculture sector to other sectors is too high. In contrast to other sectors, installments and maintenance of IoT system devices are a bit tricky and requires lots of investments.

Some challenges faced by farmers in adopting IoT for agriculture;

Lack of Infrastructure – Even if the farmers adopt IoT technology they won’t be able to take advantage of this technology due to poor communication infrastructure. Farms are located in remote areas and far from access to the internet. A farmer needs to have access to crop data reliably at any time from any location, thus connection issues would cause an advanced monitoring system to be useless.

High Cost – Equipment needed to implement the IoT system in agriculture is expensive. Sensors are the least expensive component, yet outfitting all of the farmers’ fields to be with them would cost more than a thousand dollars.

Lack of Security – IoT devices interact with older equipment they have access to the internet connection, there is no guarantee that they would be able to access drone mapping data readouts by taking benefit of public connection. An enormous amount of data is collected by IoT agricultural systems which are difficult to protect.

IoT applications in agriculture

Monitoring and control systems

Various  IoT based systems have been proposed for monitoring and control of environmental conditions in greenhouses;  and monitoring and decision support systems for agriculture field application.

Livestock monitoring is future of IoT in agriculture in India

Large farm owners can utilize wireless IoT system applications to collect data regarding the location, well-being, and health of their cattle. And this helps them in identifying animals that are sick so they can be separated from the herd, thus preventing the spread of disease. It lowers labor costs as ranchers can locate their cattle with the help of IoT based sensors.

Smart irrigation system is future of IoT in agriculture in India

Water is a critical input for agriculture crop yield in nearly all its aspects. Without optimal water, even good plant seeds and fertilizer fail to achieve their full potential. India has 4% of the world’s freshwater resources with about  17 %  of the world’s population.

Agri-business management

IoT based integrated information environment,  with information from farms, transportation systems,  processing units,  markets and export houses obtainable at a single platform, quality improvement,  cost reduction, improved profit, and competitive sale prices, etc.

Applicability of IoT in agriculture

IoT smart farming is a hi-tech and effective method of doing agriculture and growing food in a sustainable way. It is an application of implementing devices and innovative technologies together into agriculture. Smart farming majorly depends on IoT, therefore, eliminating the need for physical work of farmers and growers and increasing productivity in every possible manner.

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With the recent agriculture trends dependent on agriculture, IoT has brought huge benefits such as efficient use of water, optimization of inputs and many more. IoT based smart farming improves the entire agriculture by monitoring the field in real-time. With the help of sensors and interconnectivity, the IoT in Agriculture has not only saved the time of the farmers but has also reduced the extravagant use of resources such as water and electricity. It keeps various factors such as humidity, temperature, soil, etc. under check and also gives a crystal clear real-time observation.

Impact of IoT on agriculture

IoT-based smart farming is built for monitoring the crop field with the help of sensors like light, humidity, temperature, and soil moisture, etc and automating the irrigation. IoT is highly efficient when compared with the conventional approach. The providers of the IoT system continue to develop platforms that can communicate, and sense precisely measured environmental data to help improve farm performance. An array of technologies behind these IoT platforms that includes drones, LED lights, energy harvesting, transmitters, microcontrollers, etc.

It is designed to help farmers monitor vital information like humidity, air temperature and soil quality using remote sensors, and to improve crop yields, and make harvest forecasts. By using satellite imaging and IoT track-and-trace equipment to monitor farming operations from harvest to delivery is one way to maximize productivity and ensure the quality of food in the supply chain. The IoT system, integrated with Web Map Service (WMS) and Sensor Observation Service (SOS) provides a solution to managing water requirements or supply for crop irrigation. It smartly analyzes crop water requirements and uses water supply resources obtainable to reduce waste.

IoT in agriculture makes it possible to avoid challenges and remove all issues that may arise during farming processes. Thus, the quality of the product is growing and consumers get a good product of high quality. The IoT is transforming the agriculture industry like never before by empowering farmers and growers to deal with the enormous challenges they face. Farmers are likely to be impacted by unexpected environmental changes, economic downturns, and many other risk factors.

IoT systems can help farmers in a number of ways. Sensors can be deployed across farm and farming machinery in order to enable farmers to gain an abundance of insightful data, such as the temperature of stored products, the amount of fertilizer used, the number of seeds planted, storage conditions, the status of farming equipment and machinery.

Once an IoT- system is in place, farmers can easily track a variety of environmental variables and make informed decisions. Rather than just an enhancement, IoT farming is a necessary innovation, which if correctly implemented could help farmers to deal with all the challenges they face in farming. Also, the rich insights derived from smart sensors could help farmers be more precise in their use of pesticides and fertilizers, thus mitigating environmental impacts. IoT system monitoring plant and soil conditions is a simple use case but it can lead to a fantastic return on investment for farmers utilizing sensing technology.

Agricultural drones are future of IoT in agriculture in India

Agriculture is one of the major industries to incorporate drones and drones are being used in agriculture to enhance various agricultural practices. The benefits of using drones contain crop health imaging, integrated GIS mapping, ease of use, saves time, and the potential to increase crop yields.

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Agricultural Drones.
Agricultural Drones.

The drone technology will give a high-technology makeover to the agriculture industry with strategy and planning based on real-time data collection and processing. There are several ways in which ground-based and aerial drones will be utilized throughout the crop cycle. The common use of agricultural drones is surveying or mapping. The aerial perspective that drones provide decreases the need to go row by row to check the crop health.

Benefits of adopting IoT in agriculture

  • The whole IoT ecosystem is made up of sensors that can detect real-time weather conditions such as humidity, rainfall, temperature and more very accurately.
  • To make our greenhouses smart, the IoT system has enabled weather stations to automatically adjust the climate conditions according to a particular set of instructions. The adoption of the IoT system in greenhouses has eliminated human intervention, thus making the entire procedure cost-effective and increasing accuracy at the same time.
  • IoT solutions are focused on optimizing the use of resources like water, energy, land. Precision farming using the IoT system relies on the data collected from diverse sensors in the field which helps farmers accurately allocate just enough resources to within one plant.
  • IoT in the agriculture industry has helped the farmers to keep the quality of crops and fertility of the land, thus enhancing the product volume and quality.
  • IoT system solutions in agriculture introduce automation, for example, demand-based irrigation, fertilizing and robot harvesting.

Advantages of IoT in agriculture

Advantages of IoT in Agriculture.
Advantages of IoT in Agriculture.
  • Internet of Things makes it possible to avoid challenges and remove all issues that may arise during farming processes. Thus, the quality of the product is growing and consumers get a good product of high quality.
  • Water management can be efficiently done using the IoT system with no wastage of water using sensors.
  • IoT system helps to continuously monitor the land so that precautions can be taken at an early stage. It increases productivity, reduces manual work, reduces time and makes farming efficient.
  • By using IoT crop monitoring can be easily done to observe the growth of the crop.
  • Soil management such as pH level and Moisture content etc can be identified easily so that farmers can sow seeds according to the soil level.
  • The amount of time saved because of the IoT system could be quite large. And in today’s modern life, we all can use more time.

Disadvantages of IoT in agriculture

  • The IoT – smart agriculture needs availability on the internet continuously. The rural part of the developing countries did not fulfill these requirements and the internet is slower.
  • The IoT based equipment requires the farmer to understand and learn the use of technology. This is the main challenge in adopting smart agriculture framing at a large scale across the continues.
  • The system offers little control despite any security measures, and it can be lead the several kinds of network attacks.
  • The system designing, developing, and maintaining and enabling the large technology to IoT system is quite complicated.

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