With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050, innovation in the agricultural industry is more important than ever. This growth brings with it a need for increased food production and a dwindling availability of arable land. Projections show that feeding a population near 9 billion people would require raising global food production by some 70%. To provide for such steep demands, old farming techniques are simply no longer adequate. Thankfully, the agriculture industry is a burgeoning sector within the Internet of Things, and farmers globally are ready to reap the benefits.
Let’s look at a few ways IoT is helping the agriculture industry around the world.
Smart Ag Is Environmentally Friendly
Agriculture is responsible for a significant environmental footprint, accounting for 80% to 90% of US water consumption, releasing massive quantities of chemical pesticides, and producing more greenhouse gas emissions with animal agriculture alone than all combined transportation. IoT technology can maximize production capabilities and minimize required resources in order to reduce the industry’s environmental harm. Sensors can be implemented to test agricultural factors such as soil for moisture and nutrient levels to ensure resources are being used as efficiently as possible. This way water and pesticides can be reserved from unnecessary use and alternates can be implemented.
IoT Provides Precision Control for Farmers
The agriculture industry reaches far and wide, and each sector involves too much labor for one person to accomplish alone. As a result, much of the agriculture industry relies heavily on trusting intuition and human judgment. This also means that workers are nearly irreplaceable during illness or absence. Implementation of IoT technology can allow for real-time access to information that otherwise would take too much time or effort to obtain. Managers can have remotely controlled decision-making capabilities at their fingertips rather than having to wait for reports and then send out orders to workers. For example, rather than using valuable workers, drones are now available to monitor crops or apply treatment to specific areas. Also, companies like Lecia have developed GPS-guided combines and other agricultural IoT technologies. Aeris is helping to make solutions like these possible through cellular connectivity, perfect for remote real-time access to critical data.
Farms Are More Productive With IoT
As agricultural businesses gain more insight and control over their operations, they are able to make better business decisions and thus increase productivity. If a farm can use drones or sensors to monitor fields or cattle, for example, then the experience of the farmer can be utilized to make decisions while the manual labor previously needed to monitor these areas can be better repurposed elsewhere. IoT technology can also be applied to agricultural machinery, allowing for preventative maintenance and more accurate reports in the case of a malfunction, saving time and money. As smarter decisions are made regarding resources, productivity will improve.
Smart Farming Saves Money
According to the USDA, some of the top expenses of agricultural businesses include feed, labor, fuel, chemicals, and farm supplies and repairs, all expenditures that can be reduced with the help of IoT. Implementing IoT technology can allow businesses to make better decisions about efficiently using resources including assets, labor, and capital, significantly reducing operational costs. Replacing and improving past techniques will be the only way to maintain a competitive advantage with rising demands and ever-improving technology.
IoT Provides Transparency for Consumers
As more data is made available to the public, consumers demand high quality products more emphatically than ever. Concerns continue to emerge regarding the environmental footprint, personal health effects, and other details surrounding food production. Utilizing IoT technology in production is the only way to provide consumers with the data and transparency that is now the standard expectation, and thus maintain a competitive advantage in the industry.
When you’re ready to connect your agriculture devices to the Internet of Things, contact Aeris for a customized IoT solution.