Automation and the Internet of Things are Transforming the Business of Agriculture

Automation and the Internet of Things are Transforming the Business of Agriculture
Kitmondo 25 Sep 2019

Technology continues to change everything in its path, and the good news is that farming is catching up! 

While technology keeps changing everything from cars, communication systems, appliances to Artificial Intelligence, it is not leaving out on agriculture. Since the introduction of a wide array of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors that measure soil moisture and drones that keep track of crops, and automated farm equipment (otherwise known as Artificial Intelligence), there has been a tremendous change in the business of agriculture.

Agriculture 4.0.

The world Government Movement, with a focus on how they can harness innovation and technology to solve universal challenges facing humanity codenames this recent development, Agriculture 4.0.

Most manufacturers of industrial machines are already buckling up to meet up with the growing and fast-paced technology. One of them is the Moline-based manufacturer of farming equipment, John Deere. The US-based manufacturer sees growing digitization as the future of farming. Such ideology explains why the firm has taken a massive step in this tech path by installing John May as the new CEO. Deere believes that precision agricultural practices in use today are laying the foundation for the future of farming

According to a survey carried out by Alpha Brown, 250,000 farmers in the United States are already embracing the latest automation, and more than half of them would consider investing in solutions IoT specific to their sector. These include satellite imagery, drones, and precision farming with AI machines as part of the technology to improve yield, costs, and well as other factors.

Another study conducted in France showed that farmers are becoming equipped with e-Farming solutions with automated equipment or tools. Majority of the respondents who are yet to incorporate the innovation expected to provide themselves with this new digital equipment in coming years.

IoT in agriculture

Those who have already adopted this digitalization further improve the monitoring of their livestock and cereal crops every day. The study also notes the utility of IoT for smaller tasks, such as those in dairy, vegetable and fruit crops, and in greenhouses. Given the tremendous impact of the IoT's and AI machines on agro-business, infatuation with farmers is not surprising!

Here, we’d be looking at significant aspects in the agro system where IoT solutions and automation systems are making a significant impact.


The use of tracker collars now allows breeders to more accurately track the status of their livestock such as health, nutrition, safety, and other monitoring parameters. They can also geolocate their livestock in real-time. A data storage system then stores the information in a database to establish a reference model for livestock movements over a period of time. Applying smart algorithms on these models helps to determine if livestock is moving irregularly, or if some animals are isolating themselves from the flock, as is often the case with sick or injured animals.

The implementation of this solution is quite simple. Small connected tracers are used which communicate over an IoT network or any other Wide Area Network (WAN). Relay antennas could be distributed in the fields to cover a large area. With this setup, farmer or breeder would easily access this information via a web portal or an application on his smartphone.

Precision farming and self-propelled machines

Another segment of connected agriculture, precision farming is booming. It offers and will continue to provide, more control and precision to farmers. Born from GPS guidance for tractors, precision farming is now in use worldwide. It revolutionizes an entire industry. Some aspects of the IoT and automation systems in precision farming; 

  • Irrigation sensors measure the water level and automatically inform the irrigation system.
  • Battery-powered soil sensors collect soil-level nitrogen data and report this information regularly.
  • Farmers can also collect data on fertilizers and pesticides needed for their crops.
  • Flood sensors also monitor water levels and can be set to automatically close the valves that cause excessive plant watering and send an alert to a specified e-mail address at the same time.
  • Finally, a gel sensor automatically detects and alerts users when weather conditions suggest a gel that can damage sensitive plants.

Drones systems in IoT Agriculture

Another segment of connected agriculture that has the wind in its sails is the drone system. Diseases and their spread in crops are a real source of concern, as they have a direct impact on yields and demines efforts to have enough food crops to cope with population growth. Although it is better to prevent the occurrence of these diseases, it is more realistic, and simpler, to seek to identify, isolate and immediately remove the affected crops.

Surveillance drones are one of the means to achieve this. From their base on a farm, drones regularly conduct automatic patrols to retrieve imagery data for a particular crop. Using image recognition algorithms, a farmer can identify affected farm plots. The "marked" images are correlated with the UAV GPS to provide very accurate information. This information is retrieved from several drone records, before being analyzed and transmitted to the farmer, who can then take the necessary corrective measures. It is interesting to note that the entire process from launching the drones, piloting, capturing and analyzing data, to reporting, is fully automated.


Greenhouse agriculture aims to improve the yield of fruits, vegetables, crops, and more. However, storage houses are known to be energy-demanding. The operators therefore logically seek solutions to reduce their electricity bill. The construction of smart greenhouses would save them money and achieve their agricultural goals.

A smart greenhouse with IoT technology can control the environment; servers in the cloud can remotely access the greenhouse's computer system when it is connected. Data processing and the elimination of permanent manual monitoring can then save costs.

According to some projections, a growing number of farmers should introduce IoT and farm equipment automation in the coming years. The idea is to achieve improved efficiency, higher yields, fewer manual tasks, improved cost, and many other benefits.

Kitmondo - a marketplace for used industrial machinery

It becomes a lot easier when you don’t have to spend a fortune to acquire this highly automated equipment and brace for the future. You can achieve this by opting for the self-propelled farming machines. Whether you’re an individual or cooperate agro-industry, there is a wide array of used farming machines which are built to synchronize the fast-paced technology. At least, it offers the opportunity to tune down on production cost while being able to meet up with the much-needed efficiency in the agro-business.