Farming UK details how, if it is to feed the estimated world population of 9.6 billion by 2050, the farming industry must embrace the emerging Internet of Things (IoT), according to a new report by Therese Cory, senior analyst at Beecham Research.
The report, ‘Towards Smart Farming’, examines how farming will have to tackle challenges of climate change and more extreme weather events and it explores how machine-to-machine technologies and the IoT – when objects, people or animals are all given unique identifiers and connected to each other over the internet – are contributing to the transformation of agriculture by reducing risk and creating smart farming systems which improve output, quality and quantity.
Precision agriculture makes use of a range of technologies including GPS, sensors and ‘big data’ to optimise crop yields. Instead of just replacing farming expertise and intuition, ICT-based decision support systems, in conjunction with real time data collected through network sensors, could provide additional information relating to all aspects of farming at a level not previously possible. In addition, embedding intelligence into the design and operation of connected machines would allow data collected to be combined with the farming knowledge, enabling better decisions to be made.
This ICT-based approach would of course include the management of liquids and chemicals, with sensors installed within rainwater tanks and also in pesticide and liquid fertiliser tanks, allowing for reordering, correct applications and monitoring of storage times and storage conditions.