IoT in Agriculture: Connectivity is the Future of Farming
We are living in a hyperconnected world. Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are forcing change in virtually every industry, and farming is no exception. IoT is not a new innovation in the world of agriculture, but it is one that has had barriers to adoption worldwide.
Getting tech into the hands of more farmers is a challenge, but the future depends on it.
Read on to learn about:
- The History of IoT in Agriculture
- Use Cases for IoT in Agriculture
- Barriers, Benefits and How Tos
- Examples of IoT for Farms in Developing Countries
- How Dimitra’s IoT Technology Supports Farmers Worldwide
At Dimitra, our token-fueled platform is reducing barriers to access by putting tools into the hands of farmers. Learn more about $DMTR and how our growing ecosystem is changing the game in this and other sectors on a global scale.
The History of IoT in Agriculture
IoT didn’t get an official name until the late ’90s, but has been around since the early ’80s. Its popularity accelerated between 2010 and 2011, hitting mass market adoption in 2014.
Early uses of IoT in agriculture are similar to what is used today: hardware that collects data and software that organizes and/or reports on data. Both have improved in precision and affordability, as has the ease of access to data, hygiene of data, connectivity with other devices, interoperability with other systems, etc.
Ultimately, the value of IoT is in real time data collection, the benefits of which we’ll review in a minute.
First, let’s talk about the strength of this industry:
The agriculture IoT market is projected to grow from $11.4 billion in 2021 to $18.6 billion in 2026, which reflects a CAGR of 9.8%.
Factors driving this growth include the following:
- Increased adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT by farmers
- An increased focus on livestock monitoring
- Higher consumer demand for fresh produce
- Loss of arable land
- Population growth
- Heightened adoption of aquaculture monitoring
- Government support for precision farming
This is a fast-growing industry with plenty of beneficial applications.
Use Cases for IoT in Agriculture
The use cases for IoT in agriculture are vast, and the list is continuously growing. Here are some examples:
Precision farming — This is the aforementioned growth-driver for the industry, as well as a high-demand practice. Changing weather patterns and diminishing resources are raising an urgent need for optimizing crop production. Through the use of IoT devices that provide remote sensing, guidance, sensors, yield monitors, field mapping, and much more, precision farming is made possible.
Crop management — Networked sensors can automate field processes and crop management by providing dynamic, relevant, real time information to farmers. Moisture, soil conditions, pest threats, and more can be identified and preventative steps taken. This decreases manual labor and reduces reaction time, giving a farmer enhanced knowledge to make strategic decisions.
Crop storage optimization — Sensors can be calibrated to monitor and even adjust temperature levels and humidity levels. This can optimize crop storage conditions, which makes harvested crops last longer.
Livestock monitoring — IoT tech is also available for livestock monitoring and management. IoT enabled tags or collars can help owners maintain herd health. This is another instance of automation that alleviates manual or repetitious tasks, as well as providing early alerts for preventable problems.
Logistics Traceability — IoT technology improves logistics by increasing efficiency and transparency throughout the supply chain, as well as providing immutable traceability. By reducing media breaks and improving the precision of tracking, IoT supports speed and accuracy with end-to-end tracking capabilities.
These are just a few of the many ways IoT tech can be used in farming.
So, why are there areas on earth that don’t use IoT for agriculture?
Barriers to Using IoT Devices on a Farm
Market size or growth projections are insufficient to adequately convey “who” around the world is using IoT for farming. Invariably, the farms and farmers who have benefited from this technology are the big guys: the largest farms in the world, predominantly located in prosperous nations.
It could be argued that this is largely logistical: wealthy countries have more sophisticated technology infrastructures, existing connectivity through high-speed internet, and are well-provisioned to accommodate IoT for farming.
However, developing countries are catching up. As of 2018, 83% of adults in developing countries had a mobile phone. In 2016, four billion people worldwide had no internet access. By 2021, that number was down to three billion.
With the connectivity issue being continuously solved, there are a few other adoption barriers to consider:
Technology learning curve — Without training or native digital knowledge, there can be a learning curve to implement and use IoT technology on a farm.
Using the data — Similar to the tech learning curve, not all farmers are well-educated, and it can take time to learn how to derive actionable insights from data.
High start-up costs — Most smallholder farmers don’t have the funds to buy IoT sensors or technology.
Lack of funds is a pervasive issue for farmers around the world, and one that Dimitra is actively solving with the launch of our CeDeFi program. Check that out here.
Benefits of Using IoT Devices on a Farm
The barriers are real, but so are the benefits.
Here’s a round up of the most compelling benefits of using IoT devices on a farm:
- Solves labor problems by reducing the need for manual tasks
- Provides real time insights
- Prevents damage or loss
- Reduces waste long-term
- Reduces costs long-term
- Supports efforts in sustainability
- Contributes to data sets that provide new insights on a global scale
BONUS: The use of IoT on farms can support insurance claims. If a weather disaster strikes, farmers may be able to recover part of the proven value of the crop based on IoT data.
How to Use IoT Devices on a Farm
There are some practicalities to getting IoT devices up and running on a farm. Essentially, five components are needed:
- Sourcing and installation
- Systems management
- Data analysis and implementation
The goal is that IoT sensors prevent problems and give farmers increased visibility into crops and/or livestock.
Dimitra: IoT Technology to Support Farmers Worldwide
At Dimitra, our IoT technology offerings are part of our broader solutions to promote data driven farming. We’re doing something no company has ever done before, centralizing every available agtech solution and putting it in the hands of farmers around the world. It’s perhaps the largest undertaking of its kind, and it’s all made possible by a blockchain guru, a team of cryptocurrency experts, and a team of people with an unflinching dedication to follow through.
We are actively sealing partnerships all over the world, making good on our promise to bring technology like this to smallholder farmers everywhere.
Join our online communities and reach out to learn more.