What is new in Smart Agriculture?

IoT solutions have given us the advantage of being able to increase production, resolve chemo physical, biological, and socioeconomic problems related to crop and farming systems. During the past decades, these IoT devices have also been tailored to suit sustainability issues and restrictions, also adjusting to global population increasing (70% by 2050), putting great pressure on agriculture, having to be able to meet ends to feed the contemporary demanding society, whilst dealing with water shortages and a changing climate and consumer patterns. These issues have pushed farmers to have to find solutions to facilitate and automate their work, having to monitor the conditions of their production in order to keep up.


Until now, the implementation of automated monitoring and control systems has been limited by the poor coverage of cellular networks, but now thanks to LPWA technologies like LoRaWAN™,  IoT can enable detection, monitoring, and control over very long distances (over 15 km) of a wide variety of key agricultural data: soil temperature and moisture; weather, rainfall, and water quality; airborne pollution; crop growth; livestock position, condition and feed levels; smart connected harvesters and irrigation equipment; fire, theft and flood detection


The Smart Agriculture market is constantly evolving making it easier to solve most of these problems through IoT solutions. Most of these solutions are powered by LoRaWAN™, a long-range and low-power wireless technology with qualities that enable the use of low-cost sensors to send data from the farm to the Cloud where it can be analyzed to improve operations. 


Here are some examples of the latest developments related to this field:


Soil Moisturizing:

Soil moisture and its availability to support plant growth is a primary factor in farm productivity. Too little moisture can result in yield loss and plant death. On the other hand, too many causes root disease and water waste, making good water management and nutrient management crucial.

The Actility Soil Moisture Monitoring Kit allows monitoring water delivery for crops on or off-site, ensuring that they will always receive the correct amount of water and making sure they receive the correct nutrients for their optimal development. Thanks to LoRaWAN farmers can minimize investment by using a long-range technology, covering up to 15 km2 with just one east to install gateway.


Field pasture optimization:

Pasture quality and quantity vary by the day according to weather conditions, location, and past use for grazing. As a result, it is difficult for farmers to optimize the location of cattle every day, although this is a key decision that directly influences yield and profitability.

Through the Farmote solution, a breakthrough pasture optimization system that combines satellite-based multispectral technology with real-time data from ground Motes, farmers can take the guesswork out of pasture and grazing management.

The Motes communicate through a wireless network leveraging macro-diversity over the farming area to provide robust data collection. All wireless base stations, each with a range up to 15km, collaborate to provide seamless indoor and outdoor coverage across the farming domain. The Farmote application converts data collected from Motes into daily grass height estimates and quantity of pasture per unit of surface. Leveraging this essential metric, the system can recommend optimal cattle locations every day. The value provided by Farmote AI does not stop at daily cattle dispatching but also takes a forward-looking approach to yield optimization. By analyzing historical grass growth trends, and combining them with automated satellite image analysis, the system also provides recommendations as to when and how much to fertilize each area and provides diagnostics for some cattle distress situations.


Water Level Control:

Water leaks or the wrong water conditions can ruin crops, causing enormous economical losses. The Water Level Evaluation Kit allows to precisely monitor river and other liquids levels, through LoRaWAN devices.

This solution uses ultrasonic sensors which offer the best compromise when accurate and repeatable distance measurement is needed. The LoRaWAN long-range technology allows easy installation and the ability to monitor sensors in a very large area with low infrastructure costs, providing immediate alerts if any conditions fall out of the given ranges.


Tank Monitoring:

Every day, businesses that manage remote tanks are reducing waste and saving money. Reducing the need of having to visit each tank separately to be able to check if the water level is correct is now possible through an automated tank monitoring system.

The ThingPark Tank Monitoring Evaluation Kit is a solution that allows to precisely monitor tank content during the 24 hours of the day, the 7 days of the week by using ultrasonic sensors connected to LoRaWAN gateways, offering accurate and repeatable distance measurements. This system has been designed for water tank monitoring, snow depth measuring, parking garages, grain silos, or stock levels detection, and provides immediate alerts if any conditions fall out of their optimal ranges.


Cattle Monitoring:

Cattle–Watch is an AI Remote monitoring system based on electronics collars that provide farmers with comprehensive behavioral analysis and alerts, including activity, theft alert, Geo fence, herd counting, Bull performance, calve delivery, and cattle location. The system increases profits through increased calving yields as well as reducing losses, allowing farmers to focus on more value-added tasks. Collars are placed on each animal and fitted with a purpose-built LoRaWAN® sensor including motion sensing, body temperature measurement, and tracking functions. The trackers have edge intelligence optimizing data transmission based on flexible triggers and typically provide over a year of battery life. 


These are just some of the latest examples which have been implemented and are already helping farmers increase their profits while making life easier. At Actility we are keeping constant track of the latest market updates to try to offer the best solutions to fit your own personal use cases. We continue working on offering you the latest news on all LoRaWAN applications and hope to be able to offer new related content with more latest updates very soon.