Agriculture comes with high-risk and low-reward factors. Besides exhausting the individuals involved, traditional farming techniques also deplete natural resources unnecessarily with no significant results.
A wise solution to solve this is implementing technology to automate, track, and monitor agricultural processes. Cropin’s technology platform already implements the latest developments like geospatial analytics, IoT integrations, and AI/ML to digitize farming. However, with 5G all set to roll out, smart agriculture is set to take off with lightning-fast-speed data transfer.
Keep reading to know how this new technology in agriculture will help increase the efficacy of technology-driven farming.
What is Smart Farming?
Smart farming combines traditional agricultural practices with information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance farm produce and quality.
The usage of new technology in agriculture can help farmers reduce labor and cut down on costs while improving crop yield and production at the same time.
ICT includes a wide range of components under digital and computer technologies to facilitate all these agricultural benefits. These include robotics, sensors and actuators, drones, GPS, etc. The latest addition to this list is a 5G network.
Although mobile networks are already implementing many of these ICT technologies to offer the mentioned agricultural benefits, 5G will enhance the impact by manifolds due to low latency, high bandwidth, and support for many simultaneously communicating sensors.
How Can 5G Improve Farming?
Here are a few ways in which 5G will define the future of agriculture.
Smart Farming or Precision Agriculture
As already mentioned, 5G is crucial to bring out the holistic benefits of smart farming. Cropin’s existing technology platform already aids in increasing productivity and ensuring the proper utilization of resources via precision agriculture.
However, the implementation of 5G will help speed up the entire process with machine-to-machine services. 5G’s real-time data transfer can help in the speedy functioning of these solutions, making the decision-making quick, robust, data-oriented, and real-time.
The proper implementation of precision agriculture involves AI-implemented farm machinery. With SmartRisk, farmers get quick updates on various environmental risks and diseases plaguing crops via AI-incorporated mobile applications.
At the same time, continuous monitoring of farms using AI-enhanced machinery can help farmers identify risks from the very beginning.
However, artificial intelligence requires adequate data to work efficiently. 5G will bridge the gap in data availability that is still evident by speeding up a massive amount of data transfer, which will help AI perform efficiently.
A defining aspect of precision agriculture is cutting down on unnecessary usage of agri-inputs. SmartFarm aids in this with 360-degree monitoring of farms via data gathered from farms, satellites, drones, and sensors. Implementing 5G in these devices can aid in efficient crop monitoring — an activity performed & executed by autonomous drone sprayers.
These drone sprayers, fairly new technology in agriculture, comprise crop and weed scanners and sprayers. ICT-based platforms can also integrate with IoT devices to use the insights generated by the latter to limit the application of agrochemicals to only where required, instead of blanket spraying.
Restricted, targeted use of chemicals will lead to reduced input costs and help minimize water pollution, soil damage, and crop losses.
Similarly, farmers can determine the exact harvest time using color and size analysis via AI and 5G-enabled drone sprayers.
Accurate Harvest Estimation
Drones use high-quality and AI-powered cameras to tell apart healthy crops from spoilt crops and weeds. They facilitate this by identifying differences in leaf color and texture in plants. Accordingly, these devices isolate plants and report the data to farmers, who then take corrective action.
With 5G, these devices can report data about potential weeds, damaged crops, and their location directly to follow-up machinery in real-time. Farmers can carry out fast and effective harvests with automated crop detection and weeding, saving time and cost.
The continuous monitoring of agricultural fields and crops can help farmers understand the exact water requirements. Analysis of soil requirements is possible via soil probes buried 120 cm below irrigation lines. These devices can use 5G-connectivity to collect and transfer data about the soil’s moisture content, water salinity, and patterns.
Farmers can receive this data on their smartphones via SmartRisk and manage irrigation cycles accordingly. Managing moisture content in the soil will prevent unnecessary water consumption and depletion of surface and groundwater. At the same time, farmers will reap better quality crops due to precision agriculture and make profits.
An estimate of the possible yield will also be available to other stakeholders, including providers of agrochemicals and agri-machinery, via SmartRisk, which will help them decide on sales and marketing techniques.
Livestock Tracking and Management
Once you understand the importance of livestock in sustainable agriculture, you will witness the benefits of 5G implementation in locating valuable livestock. 5G will facilitate geo-location services and real-time connectivity to communicate the animals’ health, fertility, and food intake to farmers. It will also help farm-owners reduce the overall cost of livestock management solutions and livestock performance.
Prominent Benefits of 5G-enabled Smart Farming
The implications of this new technology in agriculture are yet to be fully explored. However, with 5G’s available features, farmers can expect the following benefits with its application in the future.
- Faster communication: 5G will offer up to 10 Gbps data speed, which means 100 times speedier connectivity than its predecessor, 4G. Faster speeds and significantly lower latency will facilitate real-time communication between stakeholders.
- Machine-to-machine data transfer: As already discussed, direct information transfer between 5G-enabled devices without human invention can enhance the speed and efficiency of agricultural processes.
- Reduced costs: With a lesser requirement of agri-inputs, workforce, and other resources, farm owners can increase revenue remarkably.
5G might take more time to entirely roll out in full throttle and cover all remote areas. However, when it does, this new technology in agriculture will reduce workforce requirements with automation.
This way, farmers can dedicate their efforts to areas that need human consideration, like planning sales and marketing, among others. So, farmers must be ready to lap up 5G-enabled solutions for themselves and the environment to reap its benefits.