Sustainable Solutions: How Drones, GPS and Sensors Make Smart Farming Possible

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As touched on in Revolutionising Agriculture: The Rise of Smart Farm, a convergence of factors such as a rising global population, greenhouse emissions, supply chain challenges, and labour shortages are forcing farmers to streamline and optimize their operations.

Streamlining is where precision agriculture technologies are proving their worth and positively impacting the future of global food production.

Agricultural technology, such as precision farming drones, sensors and GPS, is improving farm production and creating new green employment opportunities.

Data-driven farming with drones

Drone technology is empowering farmers to make decisions based on highly accurate data. Information about the current state of crops, delivered by UAVs, offers guidance about the most efficient agricultural treatments to apply. Today, Drone technology can impart detailed aerial imaging and capture high-quality video and photos without disruption.

This kind of knowledge is power, enabling farmers to act on precise irrigation recommendations – and thus reduce the problems created by insufficient water application. UAV technology makes it possible for farmers to adjust water application to the actual needs of a plant.

Drones can also detect some plant pathogenic bacteria, providing an early warning system for farmers to act accordingly to reduce infection rates.

As a result of data supplied by drones, farmers are in a much better position to keep crop damage under control, boosting productivity and quality.

How GPS is bringing the satellite to the field

Precision farming, also known as satellite agriculture, uses Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to facilitate more effective techniques in the field.

The development and implementation of precision agriculture are made possible by combining GPS and geographic information systems (GIS). These technologies enable the fusing of real-time data collection with accurate position information, leading to the efficient manipulation and analysis of large amounts of geospatial data.

GPS helps farmers work more accurately in the field during low visibility conditions such as night or dirt. Global positioning makes it much easier to navigate and map a specific field section, collect soil samples, and quickly identify plants or trees affected by pathogens.

Navigation systems such as GPS also help farmers instantly locate machinery on a vast portion of land. In addition, GPS is a powerful tool that can more effectively supervise a large stretch of land. As a result, farmers can save on labour costs by allocating workers to other areas in the field.

Agricultural sensors: advocates for faster production

Smart farming depends heavily on sensors that transmit data, which helps farmers monitor their crops and stay current on changes in the field and ecosystem. By deploying sensors and mapping fields, farmers can better understand their produce at a micro-scale, conserve resources, and reduce environmental impacts.

Sensors used in smart farming are known as agriculture sensors. Agriculture sensors such as air temperature and humidity, soil moisture, pH, light intensity, and carbon dioxide are used to gather relevant crop growth information, including nursery, growth, and harvest data. Agricultural conductivity and pH sensors gauge water and fertilizer, and the mixed fertilizer liquid in the integrated monitoring system is measured with sensors.

One of the primary benefits of agricultural sensors is that they are simple to install and use. Agricultural sensors are also more cost-efficient than other smart farming-related technologies. And while initially developed to maximize crop yields, agricultural sensors are effectively used to reduce pollution and climate change.

The case for precision agriculture

Food producers have been under increasing pressure. Farmers are thus trying to produce more food with fewer resources; This is where smart farming, or precision agriculture, enters the frame. By relying on data acquisition from heterogeneous sources, farmers are finding success by turning to modern information technologies.

Indeed, the global smart farming market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8% from 2022 to 2030; This includes agricultural machinery, sensors, computer systems, electronics, and data management technologies.

Please find out more about our courses and projects in the AgriTech and Capacity Building fields, offering a unique opportunity to learn about sustainable agriculture, global standards in food maintenance, innovation, and critical supply chain principles.

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