Traditionally, farmers have relied on their intuition and experience to carry out the various tasks in the field according to a predefined schedule. Today the large amount of information, the precision and the immediacy of the data coming from the IoT connections allow us to be ahead of the future and make the best decisions at every moment of the crop, always based on accurate, real and updated data.
As we explained in our article What is smart agriculture? How can we put it into practice in areas without mobile coverage? Smart agriculture is the application of information and data technologies, based on IoT communication, to optimize complex agricultural systems that involve individual machines and all agricultural operations.
Currently, mobile networks cover only 20% of the planet. This indicates that 80% of the Earth does not have mobile coverage and therefore does not have access to the Internet. So how can we implement smart agriculture and IoT communication in these remote areas? Thanks to the emergence of picosatellites, which offer IoT connectivity in remote areas, at a much lower cost and development time than the rest of the existing solutions.
But what real advantages can we obtain by implementing this IoT connectivity through picosatellites?
Today, it is vital to maximize the profitability and performance of resources. The new tools make it possible to collect, monitor and analyze data in real time that allow us to make better decisions every day to optimize our results. This is allowing production to be improved by providing information on what type of crop is more profitable to plant, on what exact date and on what specific land or what exact amount of water and fertilizer that crop will require.
In addition, the level of forecast and execution accuracy offered by IoT communication is also a factor that affects crop productivity. The higher the level of precision of the forecasts or behaviors, the greater the chances of getting the most out of a farm.
The correct distribution of irrigation has been a challenge to solve that required extensive technical knowledge and mastery of data on complex harvesting and irrigation systems.
With the advent of IoT technology and its combination with soil monitoring systems, farmers can measure moisture, detect leaks, and more efficiently manage water use in each application, all in real time. Or what is the same, efficiently manage the limited supply of water with less waste of water resources.
Studies indicate that the widespread use of new tools and the IoT in agriculture could conserve 200 billion liters of fresh water in the world per year.
Diseases, pests and the weather conditions themselves make agriculture a very high-risk business. Every year there are cases of completely lost crops due to drought, snowfall or torrential rain.
By collecting data and using predictive analytics, farmers can anticipate the future by making timely decisions to at least reduce the impact of possible catastrophes.
In addition, satellite-connected sensors already make it possible for farmers to better monitor and control the pest population. This is the case of some wireless sensor networks installed, in remote areas, that monitor the pest count and when they detect that the pest population is too high, they automatically activate a pheromone release system that alters the mating patterns of the pests. The pests.
Techniques such as these are minimizing, and in some cases completely replacing, the use of pesticides, which greatly favors the trends of the consumer market, which increasingly demands the consumption of natural foods and a reduced use of these products.
Smart agriculture is also having its benefits at different levels in the area of health and food conservation such as storage, transportation, etc.
Various sensors and monitoring tools are currently being used to monitor and control factors such as shipping time or storage temperature, which make it possible to guarantee food safety and quality in all phases of the agricultural process.
Right from the production phase, IoT solutions are helping farmers gain accurate crop health information that might otherwise be difficult to track and analyze.
More than 40% of the total food produced worldwide is lost each year, and more than 20% of this is due to waste related to transport and storage.
These losses can occur at various points in the agricultural supply chain, whether due to transport delays, improper storage, or during many other stages, from production to distribution. In fact, waste is possibly a bigger problem for the sector than low productivity, as it indicates a waste of all the time and resources invested in the early stages of production.
The use of IoT and M2M communication to monitor and track the transportation of agricultural products through fleets, freighters and fishing vessels offers effective solutions to this problem.
Smart agriculture, the agriculture of the future, is one that makes use of technological advances and IoT connectivity to ultimately improve production levels with the least possible use of land, water, fertilizers and labor, optimizing their activity and the resources available on earth.