Agriculture is one of the largest sources of income in the country and also serves the most critical aspects of providing food. There was a time when lands were naturally fertile, and farmers were able to grow as per their choice. However, the soil fertility of agricultural lands and crop growth gets affected after years of farming. Most of the time, the richness and nutrition of the soil decreases by planting the same kind of crop. The issues faced by farmers are unlimited, but pity is that they are not enlightened correctly to rectify the problems. Therefore it becomes necessary that we combine agriculture with technology. Here comes the concept of smart agriculture. It not only helps the farmers to increase their soul goodness but also contributes to sustainable agriculture.
Smart agriculture system is the concept where agriculture activities become advanced with the Integration of IoT and cloud technologies. Smart farming includes different management ways to manage soil fertility and leverage crop growth. Typically smart agriculture solves the issue related to soil fertility, crop growth, using the right amount of fertilizer, water, pesticides, suggesting correct crops based on humidity, minerals, weather, etc. The information can be gathered by simple soil or weather monitors, but the complex situations need smart solutions.
What are the technologies that can be included in smart AGRICULTURE SYSTEM?
Farming in this century is not only smart but also efficient as compared to the past era. Now farmers are much more knowledgeable and using smart agriculture techniques to understand the need of their soil. Some of the smart farming techniques and technology includes:
SOIL NPK MEASUREMENT SENSORS
Soil Quality sensors are available in a wide range. These sensors are basically used to measure NPK values in the soil. These sensors also efficiently calculate temperature, water, humidity, light, pH value, salinity, etc.
CLOUD-BASED IOT DASHBOARDS FOR DATA ANALYSIS
The cloud-based softwares is used to connect the sensors with mobile applications. All the data collected by the sensors is sent to the cloud and then to the mobile or web apps where the collected data can be stored and analysed.
EC PROBES FOR SOIL
The IoT based EC probes and other measuring devices are easy to insert hardware tools in which the sensors are integrated. These devices are embedded deep in the soil and measure the values of different minerals of the soil, those could be macronutrients or micronutrients.
SMART COMMUNICATION SYSTEM FOR HUGE AGRICULTURAL FIELDS
As the name suggests, the smart communication system refers to the network of devices consisting of different sensors embedded in the huge agricultural fields , from where the data is collected and sent to IoT gateways for computation which help in signalling data from the soil sensors to the cloud and then to the monitoring devices for the analysis of the data which is collected through smart devices, sensors and probes.
GPS systems are also used to set locations and positions of the probes and sensor devices embedded inside the soil.
We have worked with soil NPK Sensors which were probes and to verify the result we did a chemical rapid test with online kit available. We are using soil sensors to monitor N, P, K of the soil as well as temperature, humidity and light intensity for providing the best possible conditions for the crops to grow. All these sensor nodes send soil data of the field which we use to generate custom reports as per the requirement of the farmer which enables them to decide the best crop for their soil type and also helps in increasing the yield.
How can we achieve sustainable agriculture with smart agriculture system?
Sustainable agriculture is a term used to describe the way of farming which is done sustainably to fulfil the needs of present and saving for future generations. Over the years, the soil fertility and nutrition value get decreased hence affects the crop growth. If we continue using the soil without taking care, it will lose the ability to grow crops. Therefore to save the agricultural land for future generations, it is necessary to take good care of the soil.
Smart agriculture helps farmers to understand every element of the soil and make them aware of the use of fertilizer, pesticides, etc. Also, we can appreciate the crops according to soil quality. Every land has different NPK values, salinity, pH values, water level etc. These parameters, along with the atmospheric factors responsible for good or bad growth of the crop. If a farmer gets the knowledge of particular parameters required for a specific crop, they can grow more efficiently.
Significance of smart agriculture system
The population of the world is estimated at around 7.58 billion on the world population day, i.e. 11 July 2020. With the increase in the population, the rise in food growth becomes a necessity. It makes it essential that changes in traditional farming should be made. These changes can be adopted with smart agriculture. Mixing the latest IOT technologies with traditional agriculture practices can make farming much more efficient and fulfilling. The significance of smart agriculture is uncountable, but few are listed below:
- Smart agriculture can be beneficial to productive agriculture as farmers can plant crops which are useful for their soil.
- The use of pesticides and fertilizers can get limited and as per the requirements.
- Water wastage can be reduced as some crops require less moisture than others.
- The crops can be monitored in real-time.
- The farmer’s time consumed during the field visit to check the crops can be reduced, giving the family time.
- When the efficiency of farming increases, more crops grow hence the economy of the country will boost.
- Farmers can pass on a good quality land to their future generations.
- The soil will remain nourished for a long time.