Connected Agriculture – how IoT technology is deployed to improve food production and distribution

The cost of IoT sensors has halved in the last 10 years and is still on a downward trend. Sensors can monitor the chemical composition and moisture content of the soil in each part of a farm as well as the rainfall and temperature. By combining this data with detailed weather forecast information and fertiliser recommendations, each farmer can improve yields through the effective deployment of expensive chemicals, and also reduce water usage. Efficiencies can be made in other parts of the process using ‘connected’ technology in the control of agricultural machinery and for crop monitoring collection, storage and distribution.

The range of technology to achieve these aims should not be underestimated; a good example is the partnership between IBM and Yara. IBM provides weather monitoring – through The Weather Channel, which it owns, and AI (Artificial Intelligence), machine learning and analytics – through its Watson capability. Yara has over 100 years of experience in agronomics and, more recently, in using digital farming for the optimum use of crop nutrition products. Together, they are developing a digital farming platform that will, according to Terje Knutsen, EVP Sales and Marketing in Yara: “empower professional and smallholder farmers to optimize farming practices to increase yields, crop quality and incomes in a sustainable way.

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