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IoT devices ‘transforming’ farming practices

In this article, Pradip Shitole discusses how rising IoT demand for smart farming techniques drives the market.

The global IoT in agriculture market is garnering significant traction. IoT facilitates smart farming techniques that help automate various agriculture processes.

These include remote monitoring crop fields using sensors and operating irrigation systems.

Farmers and food-growing companies use IoT devices to leverage smart agriculture products to conveniently monitor field conditions and manage crop fields from anywhere using the Internet.

The rising use of various IoT solutions in agriculture to obtain centralised data and intelligence platforms to increase the overall yields is a key driving force aiding the market growth.

Citing the growing penetration of IoT in the agriculture sectors worldwide, Market Research Future (MRFR) expects the market valuation to escalate to USD 36 billion, with a 13% CAGR from 2019 to 2026.

What IoT means to smart agriculture

IoT devices are transforming farming practices by enabling various robots, drones, and analytics for effortless decision-making.

IoT solutions are used in agriculture to ensure high yields & profitability by:

  • Deploying various resource application solutions;
  • Reducing operational costs by employing precision agriculture techniques;
  • Environment protection.

IoT uses specialised equipment, wireless connectivity, software & IT services, remote sensors, and smart connected devices to allow farmers & growers to monitor crop health on the analytical dashboard and take decisions/action based on insights.

IoT uses remote sensing technology to:

  • Track produce;
  • Detect health issues of live animals;
  • Evaluate the farm’s environment, such as measuring soil moisture to address major climate challenges and sustainability.
Other agri-techs enabled by IoT & why their growing adoption in agriculture

For many years, technology adoption in agriculture remained slow compared to the explosion of IoT devices in other industries.

However, during the last decade, you can see a major shift towards implementing several technologies in agriculture, citing the opportunities these technologies represented.

Various agri-techs were developed to efficiently handle sophisticated tasks and increase crop production.

Given the ever-increasing growth in the global population, it is expected that the overall food demand will grow exponentially in the future.

At the same time are increasing issues such as:

  • Shortages of agricultural workforces;
  • Receding water resources;
  • Changing climates due to growing environmental concerns;
  • Subsiding arable lands.

These factors cumulatively promoted the need to adopt modern agricultural techniques to boost the production of various grains and produce to support escalating food demand.

As a result, companies innovated many novel agri-techs. Many agricultural IoT devices came up to aid in enhancing crop production.

Also, the adoption of internet connectivity solutions in agriculture hiked up to:

  • Reduce the need for manual labour;
  • Help farmers fill the demand-supply gap.

Shortages of labour worldwide that can hamper the overall crop production increased demands for advanced technologies and smart farming methods.

Rapid developments in smartphones, tablets, PCs, and other smart gadgets, increased the number of devices connected to the internet.

It helps take the real-time update about crop growth & animal welfare and track the food supply chain.

Agribots

Meanwhile, various agriculture robots/ agribots were emerged and are starting to gain attention among farmers.

Recent advancements in sensors and AI technology brought some revolutionary upgrades that enabled these robots to adapt to their surroundings and harness the full potential of the Internet of Things in agriculture.

Though still in their early stages and most of the products still in early trial phases and R&D mode, the use of robotics in agriculture is more notable.

Today, different types of smart agri robots are available in the market. These depend on uses, such as weeding robots, harvesting robotics, and others.

Robotics also enables smart load/material handling equipment to perform manual labour tasks with high accuracy.

Advancements in agricultural IoT and machine learning enable machine navigation to avail smart farming techniques using IoT features such as automatic obstacle detection.

Simultaneously, IoT also fosters the use of drones to facilitate easy monitoring of crops, weather, soil quality, etc.

At the same time, computer imaging tech is used in sorting & grading, irrigation monitoring, and quality control of grains and produce.

Notable industry updates 

On May 23rd, 2022, Conkrite Capital Corporation and Grupos Originarios de México (POM) announced their corporate merger to strengthen agricultural development programs.

By implementing IOT-based farming systems, the duo aims to reduce agricultural carbon printing to unimaginable levels over the next five years.

The union positions Conkrite Capital México as the leading provider of AI-power automation capabilities to farmers in the Méxican Republic to leverage AI and IoT capabilities to observe applications and infrastructure in multilayer environments.

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