Benefits of IoT Devices in Climate-Smart Agriculture
Climate change and agriculture are like two end balls of Newton's cradle. One remains in motion because of the other. 38 percent of the world’s land is used for agriculture which is responsible for 23 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Likewise, climate change is reducing crop yields and their nutritional quality. Many weeds, pests, and fungi thrive under warmer temperatures and wetter climates. Moreover, with shifting agroecosystem boundaries and frequent extreme weather events it is becoming more challenging for the farmers who are still dependent on traditional farming methods.
In India, the southwest monsoon is critical to the Kharif crops, which account for more than 50% of the food-grain production and 65% of the oilseeds production in the country. However, the rainfall variability has led to large-scale droughts and floods, resulting in a major impact on food grain production. The winter or ‘rabi’ crops depend on rainfall occurring at the end of the monsoon season, which provides stored soil moisture and often irrigation water. However, increasing heat waves negatively impacts this production to a great extent. Kerala, one of the important tea producing states in India has witnessed a decline in production in the past few years because of averse climate conditions. After taking a massive hit because of floods in 2018, the sunny skies and soothing seashores of Kerala faced frost in 2019 which affected over 828 hectares of tea plantations. With food security set to become more and more challenging as natural resources are stretched thin – both by overuse and climate change – it is vital to manage our land and production of food cautiously, while we still have a chance.
Enter Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA), which aims to achieve increased productivity of crops, enhanced resilience to erratic weather patterns, pests, and diseases and wherever possible, reduce carbon emissions. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach; rather it develops agricultural strategies that are embedded in local contexts.
Integrating Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in climate-smart agriculture provides real-time data and advanced analytics about “what,” “how, much,” and “where” to achieve efficient yield and simultaneously reduce the ecological footprint of farming. With the accurate and precise measurement of climate conditions, crop growth and soil conditions within a field and adapting the strategy accordingly, farmers can greatly increase crop quantity and quality. Through analysis of the collected data farmers can also increase the effectiveness of pesticides and fertilisers, and use them more selectively. The use of smart techniques in farms can better monitor the needs of individual animals and adjust their nutrition correspondingly, thereby preventing disease and enhancing herd health.
The Internet of Things is transforming the agriculture industry like never before by empowering farmers and growers to deal with enormous environmental challenges. For a long time, agriculture had been a high-risk, labour-intensive, low-reward industry. As IoT applications in agriculture continue to develop, farms will become more connected, more streamlined, more efficient and—ultimately—more productive.
Tribal farmers of Odisha were faced with extreme water shortages due to the presence of a single water source which was becoming highly unreliable with continuously changing climate.
Remotest location, with limited network
Limited water sources
Technologies such as IoT stimulated weather stations measure temperature, humidity, wind speed, soil moisture and precipitation amounts, that limit water usage while increasing the crop yield.
Gram Vikas, an NGO working with the tribal farmers of Odisha deployed Yuktix Solar-powered weather stations, independent of the electrical grid or hard-line telecommunications network, enabling micro-level data collection in compact geography.
Yuktix deployed GreenSense nodes with soil moisture sensors in the field which collected real-time Volumetric Water Content (VMC). This saved water by 5% while increasing productivity by 15%. "The timely weather information helped me better prepare for rains, foggy weather, and pest attacks. We know when to and when not to irrigate. If we know that it is going to rain, we will reduce the watering. I can use water sustainably, saving money and labour, as I use a pump”, claimed Satya Jain, a small farmer, who benefits from the micro weather station in Odisha’s Ganjam district.
Yuktix Automatic Weather Station Installed in Ganjam district of Odisha
The collected data was shared with agronomists who compared and provided weekly advice for the farmers. Cadres trained for the AWS system and presented the data on a blackboard in their local language. “After reading people realise that whatever is written is correct. People say that they experience the same weather as it is in the update. Not only our village but people from nearby villages come and read the update. If they don't understand, they ask me or others as well”, says Amita Patro, a community cadre belonging to Dambapur village, Gajapati District.
Baishnaba Gamango, a farmer from Gajapati District shares his experience with Yuktix Weather Station
Rahaman, Sk & Biswas, Shraman. (2020). Advantages of Internet of Things (IoT) and Its Applications in Smart Agriculture System. International Research Journal on Advanced Science Hub. 2. 4-10. 10.47392/irjash.2020.181.