Technology for Agriculture and Livestock 4.0
Sectors as traditional as agriculture and livestock farming are not at odds with the most cutting-edge technologies. Orchards and farms also take advantage of digitalization to renew millenary processes to obtain better food production.
In this post, we take a look at everything that technology brings to agriculture and livestock farming.
IoT in Agriculture
IoT in agriculture is the digitization of tools, machinery, and crops so that they are connected to the Internet. In this way, processes in traditional crops are automated, which makes it possible to collect more data to optimize resources, increase profitability or reduce land costs.
Sensors and Crop Monitoring
Thanks to the implementation of IoT, farmers have more facilities to promote so-called precision agriculture. This consists of managing crops in a very detailed way thanks to the measurement of different variables. In the case of IoT, through sensors that transfer information about the weather, the soil, or the operation of machinery. In other words, they collect and send crop monitoring data to a central system in real-time. Thus, for example, humidity, temperature, or the status of irrigation systems are known live. GPS devices can also be deployed to monitor and locate objects and workers.
IoT sensors can be installed on crops but also on machinery such as tractors and infrastructure such as greenhouses, which eliminates or reduces human supervision, and employees are assigned to other tasks (e.g., analyzing the data collected). These greenhouses could even regulate temperature and humidity on their own.
From old plows to today’s technology, smart agriculture goes beyond IoT to equip the land with precision, cutting-edge technology to improve yields. According to market researcher Facts & Factors, the global smart agriculture market is estimated to be worth more than $29.6 billion by 2028, with a year-on-year growth rate of 9.3% until then.
Smart agriculture covers the entire food production process and improves it. Thus, it can help to distribute fertilizers in the right quantity.
In addition, there is already talk of intelligent and autonomous driverless tractors. Using artificial intelligence, they perform mechanical tasks and collect information with which to improve their processes. Like IoT sensors, they collect information that they send to their owners about the quality of the soil or the weather. Moreover, these vehicles can also be electric, which contributes to environmental sustainability.
Alongside tractors, a fleet of drones can also be deployed to fly over the crops and collect information on the state of the plants: height, pests…
What is Livestock 4.0?
Livestock 4.0 is the deployment of technology in traditional livestock farming to save costs, increase production and its quality or improve business chain processes, through digitalization and automation.
Technologies for Livestock 4.0
In Livestock 4.0, technology can be used in a similar way as in smart agriculture. So, instead of attaching sensors to plants, it is sheep, cows or goats that carry a chip that monitors their state of health. Meanwhile, a milking machine can carry data to a central system to check production. There may also be drones that monitor the status of a farm or automated processes that do not require an employee.
Likewise, here we find that technology improves precision livestock farming, that is, the measurement of physiological conditions, climate, soil, and machines… to make better decisions and care for the welfare of the animals.
Thus, through robots and artificial intelligence trained with data, animal management systems are created. For example, with artificial intelligence, biometric data can be analyzed to detect behavior that is dangerous to their health or to better choose the animals that should procreate with each other (genetics, disease resistance, etc.).
Other possible applications of Livestock 4.0 include:
- Measuring udders. Inspecting them is essential to avoid disease and contamination. Measurement can be done with cameras, and artificial intelligence processes and distributes the data.
- Monitoring the health status of each animal.
Recording of spontaneous births.
- Using Big Data, it is possible to predict, for example, milk quality, or possible future diseases.
- Biometric data analysis and gene tracking.
- Radiofrequency tags control that an animal does not leave a marked perimeter.
How to Implement Technologies in Agriculture and Livestock Farming
The use of technology in agriculture and livestock can go beyond crops and farms: automation of factory processes, administration of invoices and payments, and vehicle fleet management… All this, without forgetting the importance of data collection for the different corporate departments.
Smart Agriculture Case Studies
At Plain Concepts, we have developed technological projects for the livestock industry that were looking for a better performance of their farms. Specifically, for the National Association of Sheep Breeders of the Assaf Breed (ASSAF.E), which has among its objectives to monitor the purity of the breed and manage a genetic improvement program, we created the so-called Genealogical Book, a data platform in the cloud based on Azure Storage and Azure Data Factory to ingest data automatically and visualize them. The data comes from files with different formats, which are transformed into reports and graphs that are accessed via web. In this way, it is easier to search, import, and export information, while getting real-time notifications.
In challenging times with the climate emergency, knowing the soil, temperatures, and weather changes in depth helps to have better food while taking care of the environment. At the same time, artificial intelligence can help lighten tedious tasks such as animal counting or genetic selection. We work with you to improve your company’s results and save costs. And to improve the future of our environment.