Indoor farming automation
One of the biggest challenges waiting in the latter half of 21st century is to provide sufficient food supply for the world population. Studies suggest that the total agricultural output should be increased by 100% by 2050 in order to meet the demand from nearly 9.1 billion people. With depleting natural resources and an eminent global climate change, this task becomes increasingly difficult. There is an urgent need to adopt innovative farming techniques in order to be “future ready”, as they say, better be proactive than reactive. Smart indoor Farms is one such innovative concept that is fast catching up among the farming community. Wireless farm automation systems help farmers increase their productivity in a very short span of time by optimizing the resources in the most effective way.
Let me throw some light on how IoT in outdoor and indoor farms helps in improving productivity in different crops.
IoT in indoor farming automation sensors for crops
Large scale farming usually involves hectares of land used for single and multi-crop cultivations. Since the area is vast and it is difficult to monitor every nook and corner of the farm manually, sensor units would be deployed to assess the farming conditions. Our IoT sensor module helps in achieving precision farming and has all the capability that can meet the farm requirements. It works on a shared network and can be deployed over the farm to collect data like temperature, humidity, soil moisture, etc. Critical parameters like soil moisture and pH levels are monitored continuously and appropriate actions are triggered as and when the set threshold level is reached.
IOT in the outdoor farm automation – Cattle & Dairy
The connected devices can improve the working of livestock/dairy farms. IoT along with big data, analytics, and cloud computing helps in better productivity and also improves the supply chain. IoT can play vital roles in dairy and cattle farms especially in monitoring milk production and procurement, observing cattle movement, livestock insurance, and employee payrolls. Ripples IoT has recently developed an automated drinking water supply system for a cattle farm in Australia.
IoT in indoor farm automation technology – Soilless
While we all were growing up we were taught that all the crop and farm cultivation is done in the soil; the type and the mineral content of the soil decide the outcome of the cultivation. There are new and innovative ways to cultivate vegetables, fruits, and plants without soil. Instead, the plants would be fed with liquid mineral solutions infused with nutrients. The main highlight of this system is that plants are fed with the appropriate nutrients required for their growth, blooming and pre-harvesting stages; normally they have to hunt down for nutrients in the soil by themselves.
There are three major soil-less farming techniques
Hydroponics: By far the most popular soil-less farming technique, the plants are grown in an environment where its roots are placed in minerals and nutrient-infused water. These nutrients are mixed according to the need of each plant and the actions are triggered based on the sensor data. Water temperature sensors deployed over the hydroponics farm can sense the temperature loss and alert the farmer accordingly. Similarly, the pH sensor can detect a change of nutrient levels and can pump in the minerals in suitable amounts.
Aquaponics: It is basically hydroponics done with the help of a fish tank. The water from the tank which is infused with organic waste from the fish and other aqua life is pushed into grow beds. The plants then filter the nutrients from the water. The water control in the grow bed is handled by an electric valve which is operated on the basis of data supplied by the sensors. The biggest advantage of using such a system is that the leftover water is recycled back to the fish tank resulting in zero wastage of water.
Aeroponics: In aeroponics, the roots need no soil and it is suspended mid-air so that there is an uninterrupted supply of oxygen. Water is pumped from the reservoir to the sprinkler nozzle which would spray inclusive of the required nutrients at constant intervals. Since the whole root growing chamber is enclosed, the sprayed residue left after the absorption of root falls back to the solution chamber and the same is recycled again. This saves a lot of water and nutrients from being wasted. The sprinkler nozzle can be actuated with the help of sensor units and gateways.
Call us to know more about our indoor farming automation solutions using wireless sensors, controllers and activators.