Agriculture 4.0 and the Internet of Things: technologies for sustainable crops

The Internet of Things (IoT) has an immense impact on our daily lives. It has enormous potential to revolutionize any industry by offering benefits such as real-time monitoring and the ability to manage objects remotely. It's amazing how new technologies are also transforming agriculture, providing a smart way to accurately monitor the growth patterns of crops and livestock. Here is agriculture 4.0.

Agriculture 4.0 and Internet of Things: IoT technology

IoT technology in agriculture involves devices such as soil sensors, cameras, weather stations and other tools to gather information from fields. The collected data is analyzed using algorithms and software, transforming it into useful information. This information may relate to a vital nutrient missing from the soil, a potential threat from a pest, or the general welfare of farm animals.

Agriculture 4.0
Farmers can estimate production and consciously plan crop distribution .

Agriculture has always been characterized by intense physical work, but today the sector is undergoing a technological revolution called Agriculture 4.0. With the world's population growing, so too is the number of mouths to feed. In this scenario, the use of IoT in agriculture is the most logical solution.

Agriculture 4.0 and Smart Agriculture: a new dimension of agriculture

IoT solutions foster the adoption of new smart and sustainable farming methods. In particular, there are four main reasons that push a farm towards digitization and the use of the IoT:

  • Cost management and waste reduction: Accurate control and supervision of crops help minimize the chances of overproduction, limiting waste. The ability to predict discrepancies in crop growth helps mitigate the risks of declining yields.
  • Data management: The agricultural sector generates a large amount of collected data which is produced by intelligent sensors, such as weather stations, soil or plant sensors and sensors to monitor the health conditions of livestock. This data allows you to monitor company progress, personnel performance and production efficiency.
  • Increase in the quality and quantity of products: the overall improvement of agricultural practices makes it possible to manage the entire production process, while ensuring better crop quality through automation techniques.
  • Greater Business Efficiency: The use of IoT technologies integrated with the automation of different processes leads to greater efficiency. For example, various agricultural operations such as irrigation, fertilizing and pest control can be fine-tuned.

Considering the benefits mentioned, it is evident that the adoption of IoT solutions in agriculture can lead to an increase in profits for companies.

Agriculture 4.0 and Smart Agriculture: some practical examples

We will now explore some fascinating examples of how advanced technologies are transforming the agricultural sector, improving crop efficiency, sustainability and productivity. In particular we will talk about:

  • Livestock management
  • Forecast
  • Automation of greenhouses
  • Storage monitoring
  • Pest detection
  • Precision irrigation
  • Use of drones

Livestock management

Agriculture 4.0
Farmers with tablets for monitoring grazing cows.

Farmers can monitor the health of their livestock and, in some cases, prevent unwanted animal deaths. For example, thanks to wearable devices, it is possible to monitor the animal's heart rate ; in case of anomalies, the owner is warned with a notification. By monitoring livestock activity on a daily basis, it is also possible to obtain useful information on the quality of milk and dairy products. Some devices are capable of analyzing the fat content of milk . All this information is collected and analyzed to make decisions regarding the animal's health.

SmaXtec is an example of a livestock monitoring system using an STM32 microcontroller and MEMS sensors . The device is inserted into the animal's stomach via a capsule and detects physiological data, such as pH and temperature. It can indicate the welfare of the animal and determine its period of fertility.

Forecast

Weather monitoring offers huge benefits in agriculture. The IoT fosters the development of the concept of precision agriculture and affects multiple activities in an intelligent way. Sensors deployed within the field provide real-time weather data and are used to make decisions based on humidity, precipitation and temperature conditions.

Automation of greenhouses

The IoT makes it possible to automatically adjust conditions inside a greenhouse based on a specific set of instructions, thus realizing smart greenhouses. The sensors provide real-time information on various greenhouse conditions, such as temperature, lighting, humidity and soil quality. The adoption of IoT in greenhouse design minimizes human intervention, increases accuracy and makes the entire process cost-effective.

Storage monitoring

Grain storage is an essential aspect in the crop production supply chain. A sensor can detect conditions in a grain storage container and transmit data on fill levels. Knowing the temperature and humidity in a storage facility can help avoid product spoilage.

Pest detection

Pests are a real challenge on farms. The threat of invasion calls for decisive action to counter the negative impact on crops. The IoT has great potential in this regard and enables farmers to address crop safety challenges with greater precision. To monitor pest damage in real time , farmers are adopting smart devices to detect pests. Artificial intelligence algorithms help identify infested crops. This information enables more precise and environmentally sustainable application of pesticides.

Precision irrigation

It's about making accurate and efficient data-driven choices. It makes the agricultural process more precise and controlled thanks to the use of intelligent applications. With smart irrigation, a farmer can evaluate soil conditions or other parameters that affect crop efficiency and determine the level of nutrients and water needed.

For example, the Vinduino platform represents a typical smart device solution for irrigation systems in vineyards. Using soil moisture sensors, weather stations and other technological tools, Vinduino provides real-time information on vineyard conditions and allows farmers to program irrigation systems efficiently, reducing water consumption and improving grape quality .

Use of drones

Agriculture 4.0
Drones for precision agriculture

Drones are increasingly being used to monitor land. They help identify problems and thus improve the overall yield in a given area of ​​land. Think of a swarm of self-driving drones flying over acres of land; thanks to digital maps, they know the area and orient themselves via GPS to organize their work. That is, check the status of the crops, take photographs and record videos. These drones can spray pesticides in areas where there is a real need, locate outbreaks where insects lurk and identify areas of land that are under- or over-watered.

Finally, we can say that, without a doubt, technology is transforming our lives in many ways. Advances in the Internet of Things and the adoption of advanced systems in precision agriculture are revolutionizing the agricultural sector. Thanks to the adoption of these technologies, agriculture is moving ever closer to a sustainable and resilient future .

The article Agriculture 4.0 and the Internet of Things: technologies for sustainable cultivation was written on: Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .