Application of Internet of Things Technology in Agriculture

Digital agriculture is a new form of agricultural development that uses digital information as a new factor of agricultural production, and uses digital information technology to visually express, digitally design, and information manage on agricultural objects, environments, and the entire process. It is one of the typical applications of transforming and upgrading traditional industries by means of digital reorganization under the category of digital economy.

Traditional agriculture mainly includes the breeding industry chain and planting industry chain, etc. The links include breeding, irrigation, fertilization, feeding, disease prevention, transportation and sales, etc., all of which are based on “people” and mainly rely on past accumulated experience, This also leads to problems such as low efficiency in the overall production process, large fluctuations, and uncontrollable quality of crops or agricultural products. In the digital agriculture model, through digital equipment such as field cameras, temperature and humidity monitoring, soil monitoring, drone aerial photography, etc., real-time “data” is used as the core to help the control and precise implementation of production decisions, and through massive data and manual Intelligent data and technical support for preventive maintenance of equipment, intelligent logistics, and diversified risk management methods, thereby greatly improving the operational efficiency of the agricultural industry chain and optimizing the efficiency of resource allocation.

The Internet of Things – Real-time acquisition of massive agricultural data lays the foundation for agricultural digitalization. The Agricultural Internet of Things is an important application field of the Internet of Things and the main source of data in digital agriculture. The Agricultural Internet of Things has been listed as one of the 18 important development directions of the Internet of Things by Europe, and it is also one of the key demonstration projects in the nine major fields of the Internet of Things in my country.

The Internet of Things has a wide range of applications in the agricultural field. The agricultural solutions based on the Internet of Things can achieve the purpose of improving operational efficiency, expanding revenue, and reducing loss through real-time collection and analysis of on-site data and deployment of command mechanisms. Multiple IoT-based applications such as variable rate, precision farming, smart irrigation, and smart greenhouses will drive agricultural process improvements. IoT technology can be used to solve unique problems in the agricultural field, build smart farms based on the Internet of Things, and achieve both crop quality and yield.The agricultural field has abundant connection requirements, and the market potential of the agricultural Internet of Things is huge. According to Huawei’s technical data, there are 750 million, 190 million, 24 million, 150 million, 210 million, and 110 million connections in global smart water meters, smart street lights, smart parking, smart agriculture, property tracking, and smart homes, respectively. The market space is very considerable. According to Huawei’s forecast, by 2020, the potential market size of the Internet of Things in the agricultural field is expected to increase from US$13.7 billion in 2015 to US$26.8 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 14.3%. Among them, the United States has the largest market share and has entered a mature stage. The Asia-Pacific region is divided into the following categories according to the different applications of IoT technology in the agricultural field:

Precision agriculture: As an agricultural management method, precision agriculture uses Internet of Things technology and information and communication technology to achieve the effect of optimizing production and conserving resources. Precision agriculture requires access to real-time data on the state of fields, soil and air to ensure profitability and sustainability while protecting the environment.

Variable Rate Technology (VRT): VRT is a technology that enables producers to vary the rate at which crop inputs are applied. It combines the variable speed control system with the application equipment, puts the input at the precise time and place, and adapts measures to local conditions to ensure that each farmland gets the most suitable amount of feeding.

Smart irrigation: There is an increasing need to improve irrigation efficiency and reduce water waste. There is an increasing emphasis on water conservation through the deployment of sustainable and efficient irrigation systems. Intelligent irrigation based on the Internet of Things measures parameters such as air humidity, soil humidity, temperature, and light intensity, thereby accurately calculating the demand for irrigation water. It has been verified that this mechanism can effectively improve irrigation efficiency.

Agricultural UAVs: UAVs have a wealth of agricultural applications and can be used to monitor crop health, agricultural photography (for the purpose of promoting healthy crop growth), variable rate applications, livestock management, etc. UAVs can monitor large areas at low cost, and equipped with sensors can easily collect large amounts of data.

Smart greenhouse: Smart greenhouses can continuously monitor climate conditions such as temperature, air humidity, light, and soil humidity, and minimize human intervention in the crop planting process. These changes in climate conditions trigger automatic responses. After analyzing and evaluating the climate change, the greenhouse will automatically perform the error correction function to maintain the climate conditions at the most suitable level for crop growth.

Harvest monitoring: The harvest monitoring mechanism can monitor various factors that affect agricultural harvest, including grain mass flow, water volume, total harvest, etc. The real-time data obtained from monitoring can help farmers make decisions. This mechanism helps to reduce costs and increase production.

Farm Management System (FMS): FMS provides data collection and management services to farmers and other stakeholders through the use of sensors and tracking devices. The collected data is stored and analyzed to support complex decision-making. Additionally, FMS can be used to identify best practices and software delivery models for agricultural data analytics. Its advantages also include: providing reliable financial data and production data management, improving risk mitigation capabilities related to weather or emergencies.

Soil monitoring systems: Soil monitoring systems assist farmers in tracking and improving soil quality and preventing soil deterioration. The system can monitor a series of physical, chemical and biological indicators (such as soil quality, water holding capacity, absorption rate, etc.) to reduce the risks of soil erosion, densification, salinization, acidification, and toxic substances that endanger soil quality.

Precise livestock feeding: Precise livestock feeding can monitor the breeding, health, and mental status of livestock in real time to ensure maximum benefits. Farmers can use advanced technology to implement continuous monitoring and make decisions based on monitoring results to improve the health of livestock.

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