5 min reading

27 September 2021

27 September 2021

How LoRaWAN can Save Farmers Money and Increase Yields

How LoRaWAN can Save Farmers Money and Increase Yields
How LoRaWAN can Save Farmers Money and Increase Yields

IoT is a great step to mitigate many challenges that the agriculture industry faces. Find out how LoRaWAN can save farmers money.

The idea behind LoRaWAN is to allow smart farming technologies to monitor and control farming surroundings over remote areas. With IoT in smart farming, farmers can reduce danger, increase yields, and save money on irrigation bills. What’s more, the Internet of Things smart farming provides the perfect power source for smart farming sensors. Farmers can now install sensors on their tractors and smart irrigation system, and use them to crop monitoring.

The introduction of technologies using the Internet of Things (IoT) is a great step to mitigate many challenges that the agriculture industry faces. The concept of using IoT for Smart Agriculture practices is beginning to take off as farmers now have the ability to more easily visualize, analyze and make smart decisions about their crops, livestock, infrastructure, environment, or any other components they are required to be monitored and managed in agricultural land.

IoT farming solutions can provide farmers with key metrics about their crop yields. Wireless sensor networks and all the sensors based on IoT can gather information about soil moisture metrics including moisture levels, pH, and chemical composition. This information can then be visualized in real-time by the farmer using an online or mobile application. The farmer can then utilize this knowledge to make calculated decisions about the management of the crops to optimize and increase yields in rural areas. For example, visualization into the soil moisture metrics can accommodate more efficient irrigation practices by allowing farmers to better understand what areas of their crops need water,  reducing unnecessary water usage and decreasing associated costs.

Understanding of LoRaWAN as Radio Technology

LoRaWAN is a radio technology based on a low-power wireless sensor network that enables long-range communications, i.e. communications and data transmissions over long distances. LoRaWAN devices can communicate using license-free radio frequencies transmitted through a LoRa antenna. LoRaWAN’s protocols are defined by the LoRa Alliance, a nonprofit association of member companies focused on open standards of big data collection in different locations. The LoRaWAN communication technology enables long-range communication between a sensor and device providers. LoRa module also provides versatility and seamless deployment of IoT farming sensors.

The radio technology uses a combination of variable bandwidth and spreading factors to increase wireless communication range across the on-field deployment. Higher bandwidth gives extended coverage, while lower data rates reduce battery life. The combination of bandwidth and spreading factors is dynamic, and IoT-based smart agriculture device automatically adjusts to network conditions in various fields. The power level varies depending on the application and the data rate, and quick transmissions increase transmitted power while conserving battery life.

LoRaWAN technology is a low-power wireless sensor network that transmits data to the Cloud, so later users can have decision support. It has several distinct advantages over drones and satellites, including the ability to send high-value data over distances of up to 15 km. LoRaWAN sensors also last for up to 10 years, ensuring lower maintenance costs and improved operational visibility. The new technology also empowers farmers to scale their production and monitoring operations.

The LoRaWAN protocol is an open standard and was defined by the LoRa Alliance, a non-profit technology alliance that represents over 500 companies. LoRaWAN is the most widely adopted LPWAN and promises ubiquitous connectivity in outdoor IoT sensors and applications for precision farming. LoRaWAN keeps network structures simple and makes management easier. The LoRaWAN network is scalable, with more IoT devices expected to come online in the near future.

What are the End-to-End Solutions for Smart Agriculture?

End-to-end solutions for smart farming include gateways that provide reliable access to various smart farming IoT devices and provide farmers with reliable connectivity and decision support. Smart farming Internet of Things solutions can help rural farmers with real-time data analytics, monitoring, and crop management at an affordable price. Other benefits of smart farming solutions include the fact that they integrate a variety of agricultural IoT management tools to streamline business processes in a smart farm. The possibilities of smart farming IoT solutions are endless, but some prominent use cases include vehicle tracking in crop yield, storage of crop models, and logistics in smart farms.

LoRaWAN is a radio technology whose benefits are not limited to saving farmers’ money. Smart farming system implementation in agriculture can help in many ways, including reducing energy costs and power consumption, increasing energy efficiency, enhancing yields, improving water supply, and reducing production waste. Even a single LoRaWAN gateway has a wide range of applications, from precision agriculture to low-power water supply management. Future smart farming solutions based on the Internet of Things (IoT) can transform the entire supply chain of agriculture production.

How Can Precision Agriculture Optimize Farming Management?

The use of IoT technologies such as temperature sensors, humidity sensor systems, and moisture sensors in agriculture can improve productivity, decrease input costs, and boost yields. But a key challenge is the reliability of data transmission between agricultural facilities. Data transmission must be reliable enough to withstand bad weather and ensure no disruption in data operations. Various connectivity protocols are used by IoT devices, making it difficult to develop a universal standard. There are, however, efforts underway to develop unified standards. The use of the LoRaWAN system is one of the best solutions.

Cost Reduction

The time and cost savings associated with the implementation of an IoT precision farming modern technology, combined with the increased crop yield potential increases ROI and improves farming efficiencies in both developed and developing countries.

LoRaWAN communication sensor node offers the lowest cost for IoT network infrastructure deployment and maintenance. LoRa is reliable, scalable, and versatile, and doesn’t require license fees, which is absolutely perfect for smart farming companies. LoRaWAN costs less than a cellular network, which frees up farmers’ budgets to invest in production equipment, sensor board, hardware setup, solar panels, and other farm assets for monitoring environmental parameters and environmental data. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder LoRaWAN is a popular solution for improving different components of farms processes discussed earlier.

Because of the low cost and long battery life of LoRaWAN sensors, they are ideal for agriculture and agri-tech applications. With a projected global population of 7 billion people by 2050, the agriculture system is under immense pressure from production demand. Land scarcity, lack of soil moisture, changing consumer habits, and other environmental factors are all contributing factors to the evolution of precision agriculture. Traditionally, farmers have relied on manual data monitoring to keep an eye on the health of their livestock and the environment. But today’s sensor reading technology allows for remote monitoring, and LoRaWAN IoT sensors offer a wide range of benefits.

Ability to Collect Data over a Long Distance

The LoRaWAN protocol, a wireless sensor networking standard, provides the necessary ranges and data rates to transmit data using sensor nodes over very far-away distances. This technology uses a Spread Spectrum, a type of signaling that spreads the raw information over a wide range to increase resistance to noise. LoRa IoT sensors are designed to detect, monitor, and control available data in real-time, including the status of packages and animals, and can be as small as a single square foot.

IoT sensors do not require charging and have a wide range of coverage to sensor data. LoRa radio transmissions send encrypted data to the gateways, which in turn forward the information to a network server. Once the data is received, a network server authenticates the payload and forwards it to the appropriate end application for further management.

Ease of Deployment

LoRa technology is easy to implement into your monitoring system. The signals that are transmitted through LoRa, in precision farming, are strong and robust, and they resist interference. A number of other features make LoRa a great fit for data management through mobile devices. One of them is the ability to send data over far-away distances.

Reduction of Possible Danger for Crops and Farmers

LoRa network has a range of benefits for both farmers and telecommunications firms. LoRa allows remote monitoring of agricultural crops and equipment and reduces the range of dangers to farmers. The technology can detect lightning strikes on wind turbine blades, which allows for more accurate maintenance and repair planning, so there won’t be delays in production or crops.

LoRaWAN has deep indoor penetration, allowing it to reach remote areas without consuming excessive power. It can even reach underground shelters and greenhouses. LoRa reduces the danger to farmers by detecting leaks of radiation and other hazardous chemicals, which can affect production and the farming environment. LoRaWAN is a great choice for smart cities, smart farms, and other applications.

Increased Connectivity

There are many advantages to connecting farming solutions to crop yields, including the fact that data is more easily shared between farmworkers and external stakeholders. Farm data is often underutilized, and some studies have pointed to a number of problems with its use, such as lack of integration and poor monitor quality. Another problem is that the data is often unreliable, as a result of underlying systems that do not allow for the open sharing of government data.

The use of sensors can increase productivity and help farmers better understand crop conditions. With the use of IoT-connected devices, farmers can control their automated equipment from afar. With the help of IoT sensors, farmers can monitor soil and crop conditions and make adjustments accordingly. Connectivity of smart farming solutions to yield increase is essential for agronomists who want to maximize crop yields.

In addition to the benefits of connectivity, smart farming solutions also require strong business cases. The agriculture sector needs to develop the infrastructure to support this technology and create a compelling case to adopt these solutions. By 2030, advanced connectivity infrastructure will cover 80 percent of rural areas worldwide. The connectivity of smart farming solutions will also require the development of more sophisticated digital tools and the widespread adoption of a system.

Possibilities for Predictive Analytics

In the agricultural sector, predictive analytics helps farmers make better decisions regarding agronomic issues such as the timing of application and product selection, and can even improve profitability. The smart system uses data to make predictions and analyze historical and future data for a number of variables, such as crop yields and soil conditions. In addition to contributing to better yields, predictive analytics in farming can also help improve efficiency and processes on farms.

Agricultural data collection and analysis can be difficult for farmers due to their dispersed location and low accuracy. For farmers to use predictive analytics to its fullest potential, farmers need an array of data sources, including in-field sensors and other data sources. The more comprehensive and detailed the data, the better.

The use of data about the environment in agriculture is changing the traditional methods of yield analytics. With smartphones, drones, and robotics, farmers can document crop progress and determine the condition of their fields. Using advanced algorithms, they can estimate future yield potential based on historical data and weather conditions. This means they can plan and implement actionable changes to improve their crop management.

Incorporation of Artificial Intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence in smart agriculture solutions is growing, but it still presents some legal and technological challenges. First of all, many growers view AI as purely digital, not as a practical tool. Furthermore, they may not see the value in implementing new technologies, which are often confusing and overpriced. To make matters worse, some AgriTech providers fail to adequately explain the solutions and how they should be implemented.

Predictive technologies and AI are improving yield predictions. With machine learning software, AI can remember yields from previous harvests and increase forecast accuracy over time. In addition to this, AI can help agricultural organizations presell their inventory, which minimizes waste. Furthermore, AI can improve the management of inputs, real estate, and crops by implementing computer vision. AI can also help growers improve crop planning and analysis.

As a result of its extensive memory, computer vision AI can boost revenue by as much as 10%. In addition, because AI can measure changes in plants, it can also analyze certain crops’ cycles based on previous yields. As a result, it can optimize crop space before harvest. Aside from this, AI can even predict when crops are going to re-seed themselves, thereby improving yields.

A smart agriculture solution requires AI for its implementation. AI uses artificial intelligence to collect information and recommend the best fertilizer for each crop. The technology also monitors weather conditions and harvest readiness. All of this means that agriculture workers can grow more crops with fewer resources. With these advances, AI is the next wave of agriculture. Those growers who adopt this technology will enjoy the advantages of increased yields.

What are the Possible Challenges of Wireless Sensor Networks?

The main challenge for smart farming solutions is data transmission. The networks must be reliable and stable enough to withstand bad weather conditions and ensure smooth operations. There are multiple protocols for connecting IoT devices, so connectivity can be a major hurdle. Still, efforts are underway to develop unified standards. Meanwhile, space-based Internet connection may help overcome this problem. This innovation could revolutionize global farming.

What Can TEKTELIC Offer for Smart Agriculture?

As a leading provider of IoT solutions, TEKTELIC offers a comprehensive platform that helps farmers to monitor their crops and soil conditions in real-time. By using wireless sensors, farmers can remotely collect data on temperature, humidity, rainfall, and more. This information can then be used to optimize irrigation and fertilization schedules, as well as pest and disease control measures. In addition, TEKTELIC provides farmers with the ability to track their equipment status and location, ensuring that all assets are being used effectively. With TEKTELIC’s solutions, farmers can increase yields while reducing costs.

Here at TEKTELIC, we and our partners are continuously developing IoT Smart Agriculture projects. For example, together with Mockingbird Consulting we successfully implemented the Analytics for Smart Cider Apples and Hops Production for Brook House Farm in Bromyard. After analyzing numerous options for soil condition monitoring, they chose the KIWI as it is a best-in-class LoRaWAN solution to provide soil moisture and temperature measurements, as well as ambient light, humidity, and temperature, and has an expected battery life of up to 10 years.

Another success story is The Poultry Sense IoT solution. Since implementing the solution, the customer has been able to break sheds into zones to more effectively micro-manage environmental conditions and determine under which conditions their birds perform best. Poultry Sense has provided effective oversight of temperature, humidity, and CO2 for each area, average weights in each shed, and seasonality. This has allowed the customer to detect harmful conditions earlier and take preventative measures to ensure bird welfare. This has resulted in happy, healthier chickens with low mortality.

For the realization of the abovementioned case was used TEKTELIC KONA Macro IoT Gateway. This gateway is suitable for both, indoor and outdoor deployments and can be mounted practically everywhere. What is more, it has double antennas (cellular modem and GPS), so it has low power consumption, which can save you a significant amount of money.

To Sum up

With the help of cloud computing and IoT, farmers will be able to make the best use of their land and reduce their carbon footprint. The cloud-based ecosystem is addressing a fundamental human need, so the benefits of smart agriculture and IoT computing solutions are numerous. These technologies will be crucial for farmers to protect the environment and improve yields. But more than that, the benefits extend far beyond the economy.

Cloud-based IoT solutions are affordable and offer real-time data processing. The internet bandwidth and low latency also make it possible for agriculture workers to save significant amounts of time and money. Intelligent applications can help them increase yields while reducing costs. These solutions can also help farmworkers make better decisions about what they need to do and when.

In general, the Internet of Things has emerged as the latest innovation which is helping the agricultural industry adapt to many of the environmental and logistical challenges facing our planet’s growing population today. Some of the key areas being impacted by IoT include Precision Farming, Livestock Management, and Smart Greenhouses. The LoRaWAN® technology has been proven to be an ideal solution for many of the Smart Agriculture applications that are being deployed in the market.

TEKTELIC has developed a complete End-to-End Smart Agriculture consisting of sensors, gateways, and backend software allowing users to better understand their assets. So if you still haven’t incorporated IoT into your agricultural business, contact our support team and we will choose together the best suitable device for you!

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