IoT of Farming: Traditional farming turns to an unlikely ally to keep up with the world’s growing food demands
Although technology has successfully revolutionized almost every other industry in the world, the farming industry has always had little or nothing to do with technology.
As the world’s population continuously soar, so does the need to feed every single member of this population.
Whilst traditional farming was somehow able to keep up with this increasing demand over the past centuries, the case might no longer be the same in the coming decades as the human population continues to increase exponentially.
It has been predicted that the world population will soar to a record 9.6 billion humans come 2050.
Thankfully, startups and venture capitalists have already kickstarted projects and ventures aimed at revolutionizing the age-old farming industry — just in time to lend a life-saving helping hand to the food industry, as it braces itself for an estimated 70% increase in food demands.
To help farmers solve this growing and inevitable dilemma, scientists have resorted to the technology of theInternet of Things in hopes of simplifying and fast tracking the processes involved in farming — which, ideally, should help step up the normally long process of production.
Counting the ways technology is helping farming
The IoT of farming has so far helped the industry in several areas, paving the way for innovation in what used to be one of the most outdated industry in the world.
So far, the IoT of farming has already made breakthroughs in several areas:
One of the most vital improvements that need to be achieved by the farming industry is in its productivity. An increase in productivity means an increase in production output — which is, evidently, the ultimate aim of the industry.
One way of increasing productivity by means of IoT in this industry is through precision agriculture. This concept uses analytics to help farmers make calculated decisions that are optimized to work in their favor.
IoT innovation in farming also utilizes wireless technology and cloud connected systems to monitor and maximize crop yields. Automated agricultural operations paired with real time monitoring and data analysis are also some of the IoT innovations that could help increase productivity in the farming industry.
As the farming sector clamor to find the best organic alternative pesticides, the opportunities for the tech industry to help improve the way farming is done is growing. The use of wireless network sensors, for example, prove to be extremely effective in monitoring pest counts and finding out when their number has reached or exceeded what is called the ‘danger zone’. A pheromones delivery system automatically detects when this danger level is reached, thereby preventing further increase in the number of pests. And since the system is capable of keeping the number of pests at a tolerable level, the need of using pesticides is significantly decreased, if not completely eliminated — and environmental preservation is also achieved in effect.
Farmers are often the first and the most affected by the climate change being felt all over our planet. Because water brings life to the crops, the lack of which is a devastating blow to every farming industry all around the world. With the help of technology, however, farmers may now have a way to lessen — if not completely defy — the harmful effects of one of farming’s mortal enemies— drought. Recent technological innovations have paved the way for breakthroughs like the Observant and Smart Watering Systems, which perform automated in-depth calculation and analysis of irrigation systems in farms — helping the farmers manage their water supply effectively. The system is also able to detect water leaks or similar problems in the water system in real time, making it easier for the farmers to take action faster — saving both time and water faster.
The IoT of farming does not only help farmers in the production and technical aspects of growing crops, the technology can also be a huge help in the business side of farming — including monitoring the volume of crops yielded and the revenues that these should create, as well as the overseeing the logistics part of farming. New innovations in farming are aimed not only in making the production aspect of the business easier, they are also aimed at helping farmers increase their revenues without having to significantly increase their products’ costs.
While IoT in farming may be far from conquering food shortage and solving world hunger, the fact that the farmers now have a means to help minimize — if not entirely avoid — crises is a huge step in attempting to solve one of the world’s biggest and perhaps most overlooked problem — imminent food shortage.
Although this type of technology has not yet reached the four corners of the world, the tech industry is optimistic that slowly but surely, it will be able to revolutionize every farming industry worldwide.