Why IoT, big data & smart farming are the future of agriculture


Why IoT, big data & smart farming are the future of agriculture

A recent article by Business Insider points out that Internet of Things (IoT) is on the rise in agriculture. The current world population of 7.3 billion is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050, according to the UN. The world will consequantly need to produce 70% more food in 2050 than it did in 2006 in order to feed the growing population of the Earth, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. Farmers will need to turn to new technologies to meet the growing demand for food production in the world.

Internet of Things is the internetworking of physical devices that have network connectivity enabling to collect and exchange data between them. The Internet of Things is a huge opportunity for farmers to monitor their crops and increase productivity. Satellites, drones, wireless sensor networks, analytical farming devices systems, farm management systems, big data applied to the farm and food management chain are all examples of IoT and smart farming.

A study conducted by OnFarm, found that following the usage of IoT on the average farm, yield rose by 1.75%, energy costs dropped $7 to $13 per acre, and water use for irrigation fell by 8%. The U.S., where IoT is most widespread, produces 7,340 kgs of cereal per hectare of farmland, compared to the global average of 3,851 kgs of cereal per hectare. Having these figures in mind, it is easy to acknowledge the fact that IoT device installations in the agriculture world will increase from 30 million in 2015 to 75 million in 2020. 

As we have already covered on e-Agriculture, there are many examples of IoT projects already up and running: The EU has started a €30 million project called Food & Farm 2020 to assess and improve IoT technologies. In Kansas farmers are already using sensors to preserve water and in Bangladesh a new sensor technology project will be implemented soon. Last but not least, NanoGanesh, a mobile based remote control for water pumps and water tanks, will be demonstrated at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (March 27th, April 2nd).

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