Since the dawn of time, agriculture has always been one of the most secure ways of raising income. Even in the past (and currently for that matter), agriculture’s usually regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious professions because of the number of complicated sacrifices farmers generally make to cultivate their plants.
Interestingly, in today’s world of agriculture, as a result of the constant increase in the invention and development of highly sophisticated equipment and tools to make the cultivation process a lot easier, farming has now become a lot more interesting art than it used to be in the past. Today, we now a pretty smooth integration of technology and agriculture (Rausch, no date). Farmers can now easily and happily make use of high-grade techs to grow their plants, tend them properly and, in the long run, harvest them in large quantities without having to lose anything.
An entirely new branch of agriculture, “smart farming” or IoT-based “smart agriculture” has now been introduced. This is a result of the continuous advancement we have been experiencing in the technology sector. Normally, one wouldn’t expect that, in agriculture, you would find such things as IoT and other popular smart techs. But, in this quite fascinating branch of farming, also commonly referred to as “intelligent farming”, farmers have the freedom to make use of sensors and many other high tech materials like the Internet of Things (IoT)/cellular that are designed by highly intelligent scientists to make things easier, not for farmers alone, but for the world population at large (Ravindra, 2018; Guerrini, 2015).
These high tech materials can help you to mark your grounds, sense the soil your plants are grown on, monitor the number of nutrients they get, conserve such essential resources as fertilizer and water that your plants need to healthily grow, and also sustain a safe environment.
Aside from the fact that farming is a really good activity, it also feeds the world. So, there’s always a need to regularly keep things in order in the agriculture sector.
However, as important as farming is, it is also one of the most difficult activities to do in the whole world, most especially when it’s not done in the right way. It requires extraordinary patience, persistence and, above all, the greatest attention. For without these, there can never be a successful farming process. If we don’t want the country to grow hungry, we need to constantly devise means of curbing present and future disasters in the sector (Róbert & Rosen, 2014).
And one of the farming methods that have been designed by smart scientists to help fall farmers in this smart agriculture. To reduce the risk of negatively affecting our farming fields due to our disproportionate dependence on agro-based inputs, such as pesticides, chemical fertilizers, capital intensive techs and so on, this relatively new farming method was devised.
However, just like everything else you can think of, this method also has its advantages and disadvantages, which we shall be discussing in the following sections of this article. Smart farming or IoT-based smart agriculture can be a major turnaround to the economies of countries around the world. At the same time, it can be also really difficult and expensive to operate. It requires the technical know-how to organize this method and keep it working overtime.
ADVANTAGES OF SMART FARMING (IOT-BASED SMART AGRICULTURE)
One of the really good things about this branch of farming is that it allows for Soil Sensing. This aspect of smart farming gives room for you as a farmer to test your soil for information and also measure it for a wide range of important and nutritious constituents necessary in securing the good health of your farm produce.
Soil sensing is also employed to appropriately control the application of real-time variable rate equipment. This allows you to understand the scale of your grounds, making you also, in this process, device effective ways of conserving necessary farming resources like water, fertilizer and so on. So, with this, you only have to apply fertilizers and pesticides where you need to apply them so as not to negatively affect your plants. You also get to conserve seeds, fertilizer, water, etc., and still even maximize yields at the end of the day.
You also get to get important information about the amount of air and the levels of air, sound, humidity, and temperature of your environment.
Smart farming is a wonderful option if you want to save on the cost of electricity. It allows for the use of solar-powered tools like pumps that save your expenditure. It is cost-effective as it somewhat reduces the spending usually generated by farmers in maintaining their capital intensive techs.
Smart agriculture makes use of AI to improve the process of wireless monitoring, regulation and data collection. With these inputs on your farm, all thanks to smart farming, you can be sure of high-quality crop production and delivery.
DISADVANTAGES OF SMART FARMING (IOT-BASED SMART AGRICULTURE)
One huge disadvantage of smart farming is that it requires an unlimited or continuous internet connection to be successful. This means that in rural communities, especially in the developing countries where we have mass crop production, it is completely impossible to operate this farming method. In places where internet connections are frustratingly slow, smart farming will be an impossibility.
As pointed out earlier, smart farming makes use of high techs that require technical skill and precision to make it a success. It requires an understanding of robotics and ICT. However, many farmers do not have these skills. Even finding someone with this technical ability is difficult or even expensive to come by, at most. And, this can be a discouraging factor hindering a lot of promising farmers from adopting it.