Farmers are already using technology and IT in agriculture with an objective of increasing crop yield and management of farming operations. Essentially, the farming automation requires the use of Internet of Things, Data Analytics and Cloud services. We can automate a variety of tasks. We can say that Farming Automation is a collection of several task that I will discuss here.
Generally an Electrical Conductivity sensor can measure the amount of nutrients, salts, and impurities in water or soil. Additionally, A PH Sensor can measure acidity and alkalinity of the soil. While, a soil moisture sensor measures the water level in the soil. By using the IoT devices for soil inspection we can determine the amount of fertilizers required in the soil. Hence, it creates a cost effective solution for fertilizer spray and irrigation in the field.
IoT devices for climate monitoring in agriculture can measure temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure and amount of rainfall. Additionally, we can also measure temperature underneath the ground level. Also, we can have CO2 sensor and light sensor to determine whether plants are getting enough light or not.
Plant Disease Detection
Plant disease detection requires the use of Image processing. Hence, we need some python library like OpenCV. The IoT device may consist of a camera and an MCU like Raspberry Pi which can run python.
Farm Ploughing and Seeding
Precision farming can employ robots for automatic Ploughing and seeding operations. The robot may have position encoder and IR sensors. The MCU guides the robot. It may have ultrasonic sensor and humidity sensor also. The robot may be equipped with water sprinkler.
Vegetable and Fruit Plucking
The robot may have servo motors and gripper for object plucking. The robot may have servo motors and gripper for object plucking. It should have some kind of computer vision system to detect the object that it will pluck. The vision control system in robot controls the action of robotic arm for fruit holding by the gripper tool.
The fruit picking robot by Dogtooth Technologies use a robotic arm to pick the sensitive fruits like strawberries. This robot uses a vision system and path planning algorithms. As another example, Robocrop is a robot for picking raspberries with the help of sensors and 3D cameras.
Automatic Irrigation or Smart Irrigation uses soil moisture sensor to detect the water level in the soil. It can help in deciding which part of the field need which amount of watering. This system can be further enhanced by machine learning algorithms which can be used to predict the watering requirement.
Fertilisers and Pesticides Spray
The Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or Drones can spray the fertilisers and pesticides over the field. However, instead of spraying fertilisers and pesticides uniformly over the field, spraying can take place selectively also. The farmers can control sprayer module from remote. For this purpose, UAV can have surveillance cameras and LIDAR sensors to determine the condition of soil and crops. As a result, the farmers can optimize the spraying of chemicals.
The health of farm animals is a great concern since if not monitored, a sick animal can spread the disease among other animals. The wearable devices that measure temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate, digestion, humidity range, and heartbeat of animals. Also, the farmers can also determine the location of the sick animal.