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INCORPORATION OF IOT IN AGRICULTURE
In India, agricultural practices are generally carried out manually by the fanners, which have often led to low yield of crops. To resolve this, we are going to introduce the IoT in the field of agricultur e to automate the process of crop monitoring and prediction.
The IoT is an enabling technology that interconnects various devices, sensors, and objects to transfer data within each other over a network with minimum human interference. It is used to build up a smart environment such as smart agriculture or smart transport or smart health, by utilizing physical devices such as sensors, microprocessor, controls, and various communication protocols. These physical devices are not enabled to interact with the Internet directly but can do so by using an IoT gateway. An IoT system, hence, is considered to be a network system by interfacing its environment with the Internet by using sensors, global positioning system (GPS), lasers, scanners, and other information sensing devices available.
Smart solutions to agriculture issues have been deployed in farming at various levels, and the IoT has already brought revolutionary changes in agriculture. Intelligent agriculture systems that deploy IoT practices can be depicted in Figure 8.2
An intelligent agriculture system first deploys a platform where the production of crops is maximized, along with an expert service providing platform for integrating IoT with farming practices. Finally, an online trading platform is used to advertise market and sell the yield at adequate prices leading to high profits.
FIGURE 8.2 The modules of an agriculture intelligent system.
Agricultural sector is plagued by a variety of problems such as investment costs, lack of lands, limited knowledge regarding best practices, improper use of fertilizers, lack of good quality seeds and soil, limited storage facilities, etc. The IoT, if deployed in conjunction, can highly help the fanners tackle these issues to a large extent. The innovative methods of fanning with the IoT can address the issues of irrigation, soil monitoring, climate change, etc., and increase the output, food safety, storage, and sustainability of the production. To accommodate a larger population, the demand for food will increase, and new techniques need to be designed to create more efficient agricultural production methods. Moreover, global climate is changing, and the growing conditions of the agricultural goods are being affected as well, so there is a need to create new agricultural production models with the focus on productivity and rational usage of environmental resources. In order to overcome variability, one of the biggest challenges to agricultural productivity, fanners need a broader understanding about the characteristics of the field and the development of the crops. Crop investigation and prediction is a time-consuming process, which, if implemented using IoT and data analytics, can be carried out in a much effective and precise manner. This shall lead to optimized yield, minimum costs, and reduction of environmental effect on crops.
Important parameters needed for such a system, such as soil moisture, pH values, weather conditions, etc., can be easily collected using IoT, and an effective strenuous system is created for a better crop monitoring system that maximizes crop yield on the basis of the farm field. The main objective of the system is to improve the quality of life for farm workers by reducing high-labor tasks. Replacing human labor with help of IoT is an emerging trend across the world.
SMART FARMING SOLUTIONS
As we have already discussed, integrating the IoT with agriculture leads to a better crop production and lesser human intervention in the process, leading to an efficient and highly profitable area for the fanners of the country. Precision agriculture deploys IoT practices in the field of fanning in order to ensure optimum growth, health, and sustainability (as shown in Figure 8.3). There are many ways in which IoT could be deployed in this field, some of which we discuss in the following.
FIGURE 8.3 Applications of precision fanning.
8.5.1 SOIL PREDICTION
Soil is the most important part of any agricultural practice, and proper use of soil for specific crop growth is a critical process that determines the actual yield of crops for a fanner. In the older fanning methods, soil was planted following the traditional approach of selection and sowing. Not choosing the appropriate soil for the intended crops and the actual weather conditions leads to bad crop growth and losses in the turnover eventually. The IoT can greatly help in predicting the soil by studying the climate of growth and the kind of crops required on the field. Data collected over a period of time can be accessed from over the cloud and used to predict what kind of soil would lead to maximum crop growth in the region. Precise soil prediction is an essential part of precision fanning and smart agriculture.
8.5.2 WEATHER MONITORING
Climate is a crucial aspect for agricultural crop growth, and therefore, there is a need to keep track of the surrounding weather conditions, according to which the soil, water level, and crop types can be updated without relying on the imprecise meteorology predictions or manually checking the field for rains. Smart agriculture deploys various sensors across the fanner’s field to collect data from the environment and stores it over a cloud. This data can then be used to study the weather conditions and select appropriate crops, soil, and irrigation needs of the farm.
8.5.3 GREENHOUSE MONITORING
Since greenhouse monitoring requires manual intervention for keeping track of the inigation process, temperature, light, and humidity, IoT technology could be deployed for automating majority of this process . Such a system can monitor the greenhouse atmosphere and alter the surrounding conditions accordingly to form an automated greenhouse environment for the crops. The greenhouse can be segregated into multiple areas that are managed through a base station. Sensor nodes are placed in these measurement areas to collect relevant information, which is then passed onto the controlling sensors to control or change the in-house environment parameters. This arrangement leads to an effective and precisely controlled greenhouse system.
8.5.4 LIVESTOCK MONITORING
Monitoring the hundreds of livestock on a farm can be a tedious process with keeping track of their location as well as looking out for any health issues. This process is an important function to be taken care of, in order to carry out the proper management and growth of farming itself. Sensors can be attached to the livestock to track their location, grazing patterns, bodily functions, etc., which are then sent over to the cloud, from where the farmers can monitor and take appropriate steps to maintain their animals.
8.5.5 SMART TRACTORS
Smart fanning is evolving to use more artificial intelligent hardware for agricultural piuposes. The tractors on a fann are important for carrying out various tasks on the field based on the kind of equipment used. Artificial- intelligence-powered tractors can highly reduce the manual labor involved with fanning by introducing driverless tractors involving minimum human intervention. Inclusion of technologies such as GPS, camera, and IoT connectivity would enable these machines to be autonomous to a large extent and diminish active human control required.
Surveillance of the fann field is one of the most valuable pieces of information for precision program. Any kind of problems can be detected early and taken care of, before they lead to more serious issues. However, the traditional approach using helicopters, etc., does not guarantee accurate data collection across very large fields, and hence, smart fanning uses drones—unmanned aerial devices—with sensors and built-in digital cameras, giving fanners a better view and more accurate representation of their fields. These drones can be used at on-demand basis and are easy to use and deploy providing real-time data with low investment. They are also a safe and reliable solution to fann management.
SOLUTION FOR SUSTAINING SOIL QUALITY IN VARYING WEATHER CONDITIONS
hi varying weather conditions, soil can be protected by adding organic matter and careful management of fertilizers and appropriate pesticides [4-6]. Table
8.2 lists products that fiilfill the criteria of soil protection.
TABLE 8.2 Products Fulfilling Soil Protection
LIMITATIONS OF SMART AGRICULTURE
Although the IoT in agriculture would accomplice a great deal of comfort and increase in productivity on a whole, but there are several challenges that arise hi implementing technologies in the field [7,8]. First, the lack of knowledge in this field would cause major apprehension in deploying such a system by a fanner on his land. The initial cost of implementation would also be a concern for them. If the system does work, the devices used in smart agriculture will have to be exposed to the harsh environmental conditions on a daily basis, leading to wear and tear and also needing high source of power to keep them in use all through the tune. These devices will have to be programmed in a way that they can work on low power for long amounts of time without needing a reset or battery change, since such frequent changes would require shut downs of the stations entirely leading to loss of data. Most often than not, the fanners do not have access to a good-quality network in order for the interconnectivity to work as intended. Even if there is, the link quality at the networking level has also to be maintained in order to assure seamless transfers to and from the cloud storage for the sensors. The security, authenticity, and privacy of the involved have also to be maintained from any kind of internal or external attacks. The hardware for a secure system could cost even more to the meagerly earning fanners. Another consideration to develop IoT solutions in smart fanning is to make the fanners aware of and comfortable with using new technologies without any fear or apprehension. Due to lack of education and access to technology, this could be a major hindr ance in implementing precision agriculture. In addition, all agricultural fields are different in nature and environmental conditions around them. Since our country is vast in geogr aphical area, similar digitization of things is not feasible. Methodology and development would differ for different fields of study.
Smart fanning is the future of all agricultural practices, which would result in maximum yield and minimum effort. Fanners would be in better control over the process of growing crops, livestock management, irrigation, and soil monitoring. Although India has not yet implemented smart solutions in the agricultural sector extensively, many countries have already developed IoT-based solutions in the field of farming which India can also benefit from by incorporating such practices. The Kaa IoT platform, built in Miami, is an enterprise-grade IoT enablement technology that allows walking safely into the agriculture IoT field . It works on the principle of tying different sensors and devices together and provides a variety of IoT-based services such as remote crop monitoring, predictive analytics for crops and livestock, climate monitoring, livestock tracking, and many other facilities. Dashboard is another agricultural monitoring tool using which a fanner can operate satellite imagery and weather data for a better visualization of his practices. LoRa is another Australian revolutionary technical advancement used for real-world smart agriculture deployment such as smart cattle ranching, ingestible cattle health tracker, soil moisture monitoring, cattle health monitoring, autonomous irrigation, and others. ThingsBoard, Inc., is a US corporation founded in 2016 with RnDcentre in Kyiv, Ukraine, that delivers robust and affordable IoT platform with out-of-the-box components and application programming interfaces for smart solutions. They have devised an interactive dashboard that can represent smart fanning IoT data visualization embedded in the agricultural project as a smart farm solution. Other interesting IoT agriculture applications are also being used in various countries, such as CROPX’s soil monitoring system to indicate the level of irrigation required by measuring moisture, temperature, and electrical conductivity in the soil, TenrpuTech’s wireless sensors to ascertain safety in agriculture storage, CLASS’S smart equipment for crop flow management, PRECISIONHAVVK’s drone for data collection, surveying and imaging in the field, JMB’s monitoring solution, in North America, to monitor pregnant cows, and many more. We can take inspiration from these smart solution applications in the future in order to effectively incorporate smart agriculture in our country.
The importance of agriculture in a developing nation, such as India, is high, and incorporating the concepts of IoT in this field can result in increase of agricultural yield to a large extent. Smart fanning solutions such as drones, automated tractors, and soil moisture monitoring can ease the problems faced by fanners in the current manual setup [11,12]. We have also seen how the IoT is being used extensively for precision fanning in various countries other than India and their applications in implementing solutions for precision agriculture. Although there are limitations of cost, resources, knowledge, and technicalities in putting up these concepts hi practice, the overall benefits and ease of work for the fanners shall result in high yields, and hence, deployment of IoT in fanning should be done in the majority of regions in our country. Such a scenario shall have a positive impact on the growth of the nation and economy as a whole.
1. J. A. Stankovic, “Research directions for the Internet of things,” Internet Things J., vol. 1, no. l,pp. 3-9, 2014.