Agriculture is undergoing significant changes, driven by technological advancements, shifts in consumer preferences, and changing environmental conditions. These changes help make agriculture more sustainable, efficient, and better able to meet the needs of a growing global population.
Smart agriculture through sensors
Sensors and drones give farmers real-time data on soil conditions, crop health, and other factors, allowing for more precise and informed decision-making. Overall, IoT is enabling farmers to optimize their operations and make data-driven decisions, which is leading to increased efficiency, productivity, and profitability in the agriculture sector. Farmers can use these sensors in a number of ways: to monitor soil moisture levels and control irrigation systems, helping farmers to conserve water and improve crop yields; to monitor crops and detect potential problems such as pests, diseases, and crop stress, allowing farmers to take proactive steps to address these issues; to track and monitor the movement of goods through the supply chain, providing transparency and improving efficiency in the agriculture industry; to monitor the health and behavior of livestock, providing farmers with valuable insights that can help improve animal welfare and increase production.
With the increasing demand for food production, coupled with the challenges of water scarcity and water management, there is a growing need for more sustainable and efficient water use in agriculture.
Why choose LoRaWAN?
With LoRaWAN® technology, whose long-range, low-power wireless sensors can send data from the farm to the Cloud, via private or public networks, farmers have easy access to a host of information for improving their businesses, with a distinct advantage over satellites and drones. Such high-value data can be transmitted over distances of up to 15 km from sensors with batteries lasting up to 10 years, resulting in lower maintenance and operating costs along with greater operational visibility, which in turn empowers farmers to scale their businesses.
For example, recurrent tasks on the field can be replaced by automatized modes of monitoring and maintenance. The benefits are two-fold: farmers are able to detect irrigation necessities based on weather recordings and forecasts, plant estimated needs, soil moisture, etc. while detecting defaults in the irrigation system. This avoids time-consuming checking of the systems on the field, optimizes the efficiency of irrigation, and avoids potential loss of crops.
Individual monitoring of high-value animals (cattle, horses…) or environmental monitoring of mass-production animals (poultry, swine…) improves reproduction, growth factors and animal welfare while reducing the use of medication thanks to early detection of disease. This results in better milk quality and decreased environmental pollution.
LoRaWAN is a popular choice when choosing agriculture sensor suppliers for several reasons:
- Wide Range of Devices: LoRaWAN is an open standard, which means there are many suppliers offering a wide range of IoT devices that are compatible with the technology. This makes it easy to find a device that fits the specific needs of a given application.
- Long-Range Coverage: LoRaWAN offers long-range coverage, which allows for the deployment of sensors in remote or hard-to-reach locations. This is particularly useful for agriculture and other applications where sensors need to be deployed over large areas.
- Energy-Efficiency: LoRaWAN is designed to be highly energy-efficient, making it ideal for sensors that need to be operational for long periods of time without requiring frequent battery replacements. For instance, Senzemo sensors can work up to 7 years without maintenance. This is particularly important in agriculture, where devices may be difficult to access for battery replacement.
- Cost-effective: LoRaWAN is a cost-effective option for sensor networks, as it allows for the deployment of a network with relatively low costs compared to other technologies. This makes it more accessible for small-scale and low-cost applications in agriculture.
- Robustness: LoRaWAN is designed to be highly resilient, making it suitable for harsh environments where sensors may need to be deployed, such as remote areas with rugged terrain or extreme weather conditions.
- Interoperability: LoRaWAN is an open standard, meaning it can work with a wide range of devices from different manufacturers, making it easy to integrate different sensors into a single network.
LoRaWAN sensors can work up to 50km away from the Gateway!
Other networks, such as Zigbee, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks, may be less well-suited for agriculture compared to LoRaWAN because of their limited range, battery life, cost, and reliability.
LoRaWAN is expected to continue its growth and development in the future, with the growing demand for IoT solutions, it is expected to see increased adoption in various industries, apart from agriculture, such as smart home, health care, and retail, as the technology, continues to evolve and mature. The ongoing development of the LoRaWAN technology is expected to result in improved performance, including longer range, higher capacity, and increased reliability. LoRaWAN is also becoming more standardized, with international organizations and industry groups working to establish a common set of standards for the technology. Last but not least; LoRaWAN is expected to be integrated with 5G networks, which will allow for even greater scalability and performance.