Smart Farming: Revolutionary IoT impulses for the agriculture of the future

 Smart Farming: Revolutionary IoT impulses for the agriculture of the future

Path optimization. Efficient machine utilization. Sustainable use of operating resources. Welcome to Farm 4.0! Because all these components are part of the "smart farming" approach, the forward-looking combination of digital IoT technology and agriculture. Drones monitor the ripening processes of plants or map fields, sensors measure the nutrient content in the soil: The Internet of Things ensures optimized workflows, higher productivity and thus also the best possible yields on many farms. Other important goals, especially in view of the process of climate change: avoiding overfertilization and erosion.


"Precision Farming": Precise rather than watering-can principle

The "precision farming" approach takes account of the different soil conditions in a field: fields are no longer managed uniformly, but on a site-specific basis. This is based on sensors that measure the moisture, temperature and nutrient content of the various subplots. The desired result: absolutely precise, well-dosed application of fertilizers, herbicides and other resources.


Data-based farm management & artificial intelligence: Digital in the barn and in the field

Robot-assisted systems milk cows, help muck out stalls and ensure individual feeding of animals. Agricultural vehicles are equipped with IoT components and networked with a central planning system that collects the necessary data for efficient route planning and freight quality assurance. In this way, all resources are automated, accelerated and made flexible even for last-minute changes. IoT apps on board the agricultural machinery enable bidirectional communication with the driver in parallel. In this way, the use of IoT and AI makes it possible to make optimum use of narrow time windows. In addition, vehicle data on routes driven or fuel consumed provide valuable information for predictive management of the entire fleet.


Drones optimize use of crop protection products

In a Swiss pilot project, drones were used to photograph dock plants in a field. A radio module on the drone sent the digital image data to the cloud for real-time analysis. Artificial intelligence-based software with self-learning algorithms identified the harmful plant. This information was sent back to the field to a farming robot, which now navigated - GPS-guided - to the plant and could target it with a pesticide. A method that could reduce herbicide use by up to 90 percent. 


5G ensures precision in the field

Plowing, sowing, harvesting, weeding: All of this requires a high degree of accuracy. Here, 5G technology provides crucial help for precise navigation in the field: autonomous harvesters, seed drones, tractors and farm robots keep their track with "Precise Positioning" based on 5G. Normally, the localization accuracy of GPS is between three and five meters - too inaccurate for driving on a field track. Precise Positioning, developed as a 5G solution by Deutsche Telekom and the U.S. navigation specialist Swift, achieves a precision of up to ten centimeters. Special antennas collect GPS signals from 40 to 50 GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) satellites. From this data and from the exact stationary geodata of the antennas, a cloud algorithm then calculates highly precise position data that is sent in real time to vehicles, drones and autonomous machines via the 5G mobile communications network. 


Targeted use of resources: Successfully countering climate fluctuations with AI-based environmental monitoring.

Finally, we want to introduce you to an example of the effective use of digital technology in agriculture - the startup Agvolution, founded in 2020: the young company developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-based environmental monitoring system. Based on the use of new IoT environmental sensors, it allows farmers to very accurately determine weather impacts in terms of crop growth and health. The system's unique feature is that it does not measure soil moisture across an entire, vast area, but rather examines each section individually for rainfall amounts and soil characteristics. Farmers then use the results to sow, fertilize or irrigate their fields more efficiently - in short, to optimize their work in an ideal way.

According to the company's founders from Göttingen, it is possible to "save up to 20 percent of previous costs in this way." And in terms of sustainability, also the corresponding amount of seeds, fertilizers and water. Against this backdrop, farmers are able to increase their harvest despite climate change - which is absolutely necessary in view of the constantly growing world population.

In a survey of farms in Germany, management consultants PwC confirmed this approach, defining the targeted use of fertilizers as the application with the greatest potential for savings. 

Initial Agvolution pilot projects in Germany, Austria and Switzerland confirmed the effectiveness of the approach, and further projects have already been added in Asia, Africa and South America. Agvolution is thus just one of numerous examples of the "smart farming" principle: analyzing existing conditions and then controlling the sowing process and the use of fertilizers according to the circumstances.


veröffentlicht am : 2022-12-08 08:00