Agriculture is under huge pressure due to population growth, scarce resources and climate change. Today farmers are required to harvest maximum from the smallest piece of land. Thus, this field requires assistance of something remarkable like embedded system. Several complexities are involved in farming, as farmers need to have sound understanding of climatic conditions and they must be able to change the farming process depending upon the climatic conditions. Farming practices even change according to the soil conditions and therefore computational assistance help a lot to farmers.
To assist and help the farmers, scientists have come up with precision farming process that optimises the complete agriculture work. This process aims to maximize the output while keeping input to the minimum. This farming practice is currently implemented in Kerala by KAU and ICFOSS, where they are looking to setup smart agriculture that would provide actual data of soil with the assistance of sensors to a cloud-based platform. After proper data interpretation, this platform would take information from satellites and suggest the best farming practice accordingly.
Precision farming process also aims to assist farmers with market information, value-added options and post-harvest advices. In future, this system also eyes to solve labour issues by coming up with robotic farm equipment like sensor-based sprinklers, which would perform the farming practices that are usually performed by the labourers. In several countries, precision farming has gained lot of significance and the latest one to join is the Holland. This country is currently developing driverless tractors using Real Time Kinematic and GPS that will prove to be effective and cost-efficient for use in large farmlands.
Another example of precision farming can be witnesses at Distributed Root Garden, which have been setup by MIT researchers. This garden consists of tomato plants that are nurtured by Robots and right from watering the plants to providing regular nutrients to studying plant condition to optimally harvest the tomatoes, every practice is taken care of by the robots. Every plant has a sensor that provides plant’s status to the robots. The entire garden is equipped with sensors to provide map and respective positions of the plants so that robots can act according to the plant’s condition. Presently robots predict the fruit’s condition like when it would ripe and be ready for harvest and the time when the plant would require the next nutrients. The students are free to conduct research on this garden to make it better and usable by farmers.