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IoT infrastructure imperative when seeking to implement smart farming technologies

Beecham Research have conducted a study highlighting smart farming technology’s strategic applications, identifying it as highly dependant on IoT infrastructure to be able to bring any benefit to farmers.

Principal Analyst at Beecham Research, Saverio Romeo, explains: “The United Nations Food and Agriculture Program has noted that global production of food, feed and fibre will need to increase by 70% by 2050 to meet the demands of a growing global population.This means that, to optimise crop yields and reduce waste, the agriculture and farming industries will need to rely heavily on IoT and M2M technologies moving forward.”

The report highlights the opportunities this brings for mobile network operators, other connectivity providers, sensor manufacturers and software developers specialising in agricultural solutions.

“GPS services, sensors and big data, will all become essential farming tools in the coming years and are clearly set to revolutionise agriculture,” says Romeo.

According to Beecham Research’s study, these new methods of precision agriculture, along with the help of IoT technologies, will change the way food is currently being traced too. This will help suppliers and supermarkets provide more extensive data about the origin of their foods - something an increasing number of consumers are starting to demand.

Senior Analyst and co-author of Beecham Research’s report, Dr Therese Cory, said: “Whilst precision agriculture cannot solve all the problems, it can help farmers control aspects of farming better and optimise results, as well as provide real time information at a level of granularity not previously possible”.

“This enables better, more accurate decisions to be made and results in less waste and maximum efficiency in operations. This particularly matters in an industry where margins can be tight, and savings of a few percent can amount to a great deal of money and precious resources.”

According to the study, the activities amongst which smart farming will prove most useful are: monitoring livestock, fleet management of farm vehicles, indoor farming and greenhouses, arable farming, forestry, fish farming, water monitoring and storage. Additionally, decision support systems and sensor-based technologies will be most relevant at the post-harvest stage, by detecting issues such as bacteria, contamination and food fraud, to name a few.

“Precision agriculture can help reduce significant losses in farming, solve problems of data collection and monitoring and reduce the impacts of climate change,” concludes Romeo.

Read the full study here.

Source: Electronics Weekly

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