‘Smart farming refers to managing farms using modern Information and communication technologies to increase the quantity and quality of products while optimizing the human labor required.’ (1)
In agriculture, the primary aim of smart farming is to enhance agricultural production by implementing a comprehensive decision-making support system. This advanced system carefully analyzes and evaluates various resources alongside external factors like weather patterns, climate conditions, and environmental elements. Its purpose is to optimize both the quantity and quality of agricultural products. Farmers can effectively reduce production costs and minimize failure rates by leveraging precision farming technologies. Furthermore, precision farming empowers farmers to achieve higher productivity and sustainability in their agricultural endeavors. Ultimately, smart agriculture brings added value through improved decision-making processes and enhanced operational efficiency in resource utilization and management.
‘Smart farming helps farmers understand important factors such as water, topography, aspect, vegetation, and soil types. This allows farmers to determine the best uses of scarce resources within their production environment and manage these environmentally and economically sustainably. It also enables farmers to monitor the quantity and quality of their products on time and adjust their production techniques when necessary.’ (2)
5 Tools Used in Smart Farming
Smart farming encompasses various tools and technologies designed to optimize agricultural practices. Here are some of the most impactful and convenient tools used in smart farming:
- Machine learning: This self-learning technology empowers farmers to predict and anticipate changes in climate, soil and water conditions, and carbon levels, as well as the spread of diseases and pests. Farmers can make informed decisions based on accurate predictions by leveraging machine learning algorithms.
- Smart farming sensors: These susceptible sensors enable farmers to monitor real-time environmental and field parameter changes. Farmers can detect even the slightest variations with these sensors, helping them take timely actions to optimize crop growth and mitigate potential issues.
- Drones and satellites with cameras: Utilizing aerial technology, growers can create updated maps of their fields and remotely monitor their territories. Drones and satellites equipped with cameras provide valuable visual data, allowing farmers to assess crop health, identify problem areas, and make informed decisions without physically visiting the fields.
- Big data: Accurate forecasts, activity planning, and efficient business models heavily rely on analyzing vast amounts of data. Big data is crucial in smart farming, enabling farmers to make long-term decisions and take immediate actions based on valuable insights.
- Internet of Things (IoT): By integrating all the tools and solutions into a cohesive system, IoT offers a comprehensive approach to smart farming. IoT allows devices and software to interact based on both predefined models and learning algorithms. This integration enhances operational efficiency, facilitates automation, and improves decision-making processes.
Collectively, these tools contribute to the advancement of smart farming, revolutionizing traditional agricultural practices and promoting sustainable and efficient food production.
Using Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors to gather real-time data from agricultural areas is one of the exciting parts of smart farming. These sensors can measure several variables, including soil moisture, temperature, humidity, and nutrient levels. This data is processed and used to make intelligent choices about irrigation, fertilization, and control of pests.
Farmers can acquire significant insights into the status of their crops and make precise adjustments to maximize their growth by utilizing IoT devices and sensors. For instance, a sensor can activate an automated irrigation system to water the plants appropriately if it senses low soil moisture levels. This not only conserves water but also guarantees that crops get the correct quantity of moisture.
Additionally, farmers can identify patterns and trends in the gathered data thanks to integrating data analytics and machine learning in smart farming. By utilizing this technology, farmers can accurately anticipate agricultural yields, disease outbreaks, and the best times to harvest their crops. Using this information, they may better organize their operations, cut down on waste, and increase production.
‘There is typically a cost associated with accessing smart farming solutions, but in most cases, the cost depends on the scope and scale of the smart farming technology being utilized. Suppose you look beyond hardware as “smart farming” and consider data and data sharing as smart farming. In that case, there are cost-effective and accessible applications that can be very useful for smallholders.’ (3)
From another aspect, with technology, it is now possible to grow plants in a warehouse instead of a field without sun and soil. Thanks to technology, growing plants using 95% less water, 0 pesticides, and 390 times the productivity per square foot is now possible. The critical point here is to understand what plants want by data—collecting the data about what to give plants, what spectrum of light, what nutrients, and how to improve the plant’s quality, taste, and texture. With data analytics, it is possible to grow plants without soil.
So, new types of ‘farmers’ and contemporary farming techniques exist. One of them is vertical farming. With this technique, growing plants with less than 5% water consumption and 99% less land is possible.
These new technologies and solutions are much more sustainable than farming on the land. It is possible to collect data and find out what the best way to grow plants is. In these new technologies, efficiency depends not on the sun or rain but on the technology applied while growing the plants. Smart agriculture provides positive development for agriculture.
Discover the wireless and wired solutions by Next Industries for this type of application, capable of transmitting data even over long distances and in challenging environmental conditions.
- Sciforce. (2023, January 25). Smart farming: The future of agriculture. IoT For All. https://www.iotforall.com/smart-farming-future-of-agriculture
- How smart farming is changing the future of food. (2022, June 15). https://www.iso.org/news/ref2799.html#
- 3 Innovative Smart Farming (Vertical Farming) | Future of Farming. (2020). Retrieved June 27, 2023, from https://youtu.be/nYDsyr_OP1Y