Over 2 million farms and 36 million cattle will be connected by 2024, market-foresight advisory firm ABI Research said in its latest report.
“For field and tree crops, the primary driver for the introduction of connectivity and the internet of things (IoT) is not only to irrigate sufficiently but also to limit excess water application for usage efficiency and to align with government regulation,” the research firm said.
“For livestock, it is about collecting data relating to the health of the animals, including birthing activities, as well as knowledge of their whereabouts,” it added. “Across all agriculture sectors, the benefits are improved yields, a higher quality product, and greater insight for farmers to more efficiently manage their operations.”
Harriet Sumnall, Research Analyst at ABI Research, explained that hi-tech systems involving drones are sometimes referenced when discussing the future of farming.
“But a drone’s primary function is to provide high-level aerial imagery, including strategic analysis of large areas to provide analytics on indices like chlorophyll content,” she said. “Ground-based sensor-based systems are more insightful and cost-effective for focusing solely on monitoring soil under crops and animal behavior.”
ABI Research predicts that the technologies that will power IoT in connected agriculture will heavily rely on gateways and low-power wide area products.
“LoRa is increasing finding preference in supplier solutions, particularly for sensor-to-node connections. The cost of connected agriculture system depends upon the number of sensors, with vendor pricing strategies ranging from a single upfront fee and an inclusive subscription to a data management platform (as with Sensoterra), to a zero upfront cost but a data subscription-only model (as with CropX). The former may be preferable for large farms, and the latter better for smaller ones,” it said.