The world population is ever growing. It is at 8 billion now, was 1B at the time of industrial revolution in year 1800, 2B around 1930, and reached 6B near the end of the twentieth century. It will reach 8.5B in 2030 and 9.7B by 2050 by latest estimates. When population grows at this rate, you need food and supplies to grow at the same rate or even higher to sustain the world. Agriculture and farming are the only things that had have sustained human living over the years. Agriculture and farming opportunities, clean water, and fertile soil was the only reason that ancient civilizations like Indus valley and Mesopotamian started near rivers.
So, do we have a farm and agriculture crisis at hand, are we running out of food, and how can technologies like RFID, BLE and LPWAN (Low Powered Wide Area Networks), LoRa, NB-IoT and other internet of things (IoT) can help with enhancing farm and agriculture produce, time to market, and the critical supply chain?
Well, at present, agriculture and farming gives us 1.5 times the food we need (and despite that, there is world hunger) but a major portion of this produce, 30% to 40%, goes to waste for the lack of efficient silos, unfavorable climate, supply chain disruptions, and timely and effective distribution networks. Use of technology like RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and other IoT technologies can help in this regard.
In fact, over the past few years, the integration of Radio Frequency Identification and Internet of Things technologies has brought about significant advancements in agriculture. By leveraging data-driven insights and automation, RFID and IoT solutions are enhancing farm management practices and boosting production levels, creating robust supply chain, and improving time to market.
Let’s explore the potential impact of RFID and IoT on agriculture and how it can enhance farm and agri production and the time to market.
How RFID Improves Farming
RFID and various IoT technologies are revolutionizing agriculture with remote network connections, helping farmers with resource allocation, tool tracking, high yield and storage, food safety, livestock tracking and health monitoring, etc.
When it comes to farming and increasing farm produce, RFID works with IoT technologies like LoRaWAN which enable low cost, long range network connection and data sharing. RFID sensors tags effectively measure soil health, temperature, humidity and toxic gases in the environment and share the data for analytics leading to better decision making.
RFID also ensure timely irrigation, fixes irrigation schedules, and prevents water wastage. This leads to cost saving and improved yield at low cost.
Efficient Inventory and Asset Management with RFID
Radio frequency Identification is a wireless AIDC tool that uses RFID tags and RFID readers to perform its most basic functions such as automatic identification of tagged items and wireless data capture, encoding and decoding. The RFID technology itself formed the basis of IoT in late 90s.
RFID enables farmers to streamline inventory and asset management processes, leading to increased efficiency and cost savings. By tagging equipment, tools, and livestock with RFID tags, farmers can easily track and monitor their location, usage, and maintenance needs.
By tracking livestock, farmers can attend to their needs, check their health and find them when they go missing. According to industry reports, farms implementing RFID-based asset tracking systems have experienced reductions in equipment loss and time spent searching for misplaced items.
Precision Agriculture and Resource Optimization
IoT-enabled sensors and RFID tags provide real-time data on soil moisture, temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors. This data facilitates precision agriculture techniques, allowing farmers to optimize resource allocation and minimize waste.
Farmers can make plans and utilize resources in real-time, ensuring timely sowing, cropping, and harvesting. Studies have shown that farmers adopting IoT-based precision agriculture practices have witnessed improvements in water usage efficiency and crop yields.
Livestock Monitoring and Health Management
Livestock are a major source of dairy and meat products and account for a significant portion of our food production. With the help of RFID and other IoT tools, farmers can automate a lot of works which would otherwise cost trained labor that is hardly available and extra money in the form of labor.
RFID tags integrated with IoT technology offer unprecedented visibility into the health and behavior of livestock. Sensors embedded in the tags can collect data on factors like body temperature, heart rate, and feeding patterns, enabling early detection of diseases and anomalies.
Research suggests that RFID-based livestock monitoring systems have the potential to reduce disease-related losses and the need for antibiotics. Since trained labor is so scarce in agriculture and farming industry, IoT definitely opens new opportunities for farmers.
Supply Chain Traceability and Food Safety
What good is a farm produce if it doesn’t reach to the consumers and that too on time? A major 40% of total agricultural and farm produce is wasted across the world. How can we stop that? Enhance the time to market!
The integration of RFID and IoT in agriculture enhances traceability throughout the food supply chain. By tagging individual products, farmers and food processors can track the journey of produce from farm to market and to fork. This technology enables swift identification of affected batches in case of food safety concerns or recalls, reducing the risk to consumer health. Real-world examples have demonstrated the effectiveness of RFID-based traceability systems in improving recall processes. Retail giants like Wal-Mart have been using RFID to effectively manage their supply chain for years now.
Data-Driven Decision Making and Predictive Analytics
Like corporate businesses, data is the key to other grounded businesses such as agriculture and farming. By using technological solutions like RFID and IoT, which generate vast amounts of data, farmers can make data-driven decisions and predictive analytics.
By analyzing this data, farmers can gain valuable insights into crop performance, livestock behavior, and resource utilization patterns. Leveraging historical data and applying advanced analytics techniques, farmers can make informed decisions regarding planting schedules, irrigation practices, and more. Coupled with predictive analytics, IoT solutions can help farmers with advance planning and preparations for adverse circumstances like flood, rain, crop yield shrinkage etc. Predictive analytics can also help with market pattern forecasting and help farmers get effective price for their produce as well.
So, the integration of RFID and IoT technologies in agriculture holds immense potential for improving farm management practices, increasing production levels, and enhancing sustainability. Efficient inventory management, precise resource allocation, improved livestock health monitoring, enhanced traceability, and data-driven decision making are just a few of the benefits offered by these technologies. As the agriculture industry continues to evolve, the adoption of RFID and IoT will likely play an increasingly critical role in shaping the future of farming, especially in developing countries like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Nigeria, and many other Asia pacific and European nations.
- Last updated on Sep 05, 2023