Smart Irrigation Powered by IoT
Check out the latest trends in smart irrigation and IoT-powered systems.
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One of the basic necessities for survival on this planet is water. And many countries are facing problems of water scarcity, and the figures are increasing at a rapid pace. Irrigation holds the maximum share in global water usages. And it is also the area in which most of the water wastage takes place. Furthermore, most of the water put to use for irrigation is wasted in the evapotranspiration or just unproductive use of water. This is where the need for smart irrigation systems came into the picture. It helps in making effective use of water for irrigation purposes.
Smart irrigation plays an important role in making agriculture processes effective and efficient. And it helps farmers to prevent water wastage during irrigation. These smart irrigation techniques enhance the overall quality and quantity of crops by:
- Irrigating crops as per schedule
- Decreasing water overflows
- Ascertaining precise soil dampness levels
Instead of using traditional methods of irrigation, switching irrigation to smart irrigation will help to decrease manual mistakes, such as forgetting to switch off the water valve after irrigating the grounds. Automated irrigation also reduces resource consumption, such as time and electricity.
IoT-Powered Smart Irrigation System Design
The crucial part of a smart irrigation system design is a microcontroller, which is nothing but an information gateway. Required sensors utilized in the farmlands for transmitting real-time data are temperature sensors and soil dampness sensors. Threshold limits are set for moisture as well as temperature, and whenever the sensor value crosses the threshold range, then the water pump is switched on by microcontrollers. Another vital element of the microcontroller is servo motors that help to check if pipes are adequately irrigating the farmlands or not. It also helps to find out if any part of the field is left dry.
There are different types of sensors and gateway devices available for transmitting significant data to the microcontroller unit. Every sensor has an important role to play for receiving and transferring the particular data. The most essential ones are soil moisture sensors, and they are meant for inspecting dielectric constant of soil surfaces for assessing volumetric water level present in the surface. Furthermore, there are two distinct types of SMS controllers, namely, on-demand and bypass. The function of on-demand SMS controllers is to instigate irrigation schedules and bypass SMS controllers to enable irrigation schedules. Other sensors involved are temperature sensors, and they make use of cutting-edge technology, such as Resistance Temperature Detector Components (RTDs), to monitor soil temperature precisely. Another tool used is relay systems that are utilized for turning water pumps on and off, according to soil need. Let's take a closer look at hardware requirements.
1. Make Use of LED Lights to Irrigate Smartly
The moment when sensors provide information such as the readings of whether soil moisture is decreased or not, the LED bulb automatically lights up to notify the system to start the irrigation of farmland. LED lights are also essential for tank overflow control models that function efficiently with ultrasonic sensors. So, LED light bulbs are able to indicate the current status of water pumps and sprinklers.
2. Smart Sprinklers Play an Important Role
The advantage of using the smart irrigation IoT technique is that it reduces overall water consumption. Well, the savings can be increased further if you stop the use of traditional sprinklers and utilize the nozzles that can spray water rotating water torrents in multiple areas. Smart sprinklers are also effective to make sure that water is evenly spread at all areas on the farmland.
3. The Requirement of the Internet
The major factor to include in smart irrigation, IoT systems is the role of the Internet, the Internet will enable the adequate flow of information that is transmitted by a particular gateway. There are various technologies available for wireless low-power networks, such as LoRaWAN, Sigfox, etc., and it is quite effective for providing power to the sensors. These sensors are efficient for sending data to any local computer of the user or also to any cloud network as needed.
4. Need to Locate the Sensors
Installing gateways and pumps can be as easy as falling off a log — unless sensors are properly located in the farmlands. As per the suggestion of specialists, users must ensure that sensors are adequately communicating with soil surface at regular intervals. Moreover, the sensors must also be located at least 5 feet apart from irrigation heads, busy areas, homes, etc. Another essential factor to keep in mind is that sensors must be located in an area with vast amounts of sunlight and inside the root of plants. It is crucial for soil moisture sensors to be shielded with soil and also be nearby low pressure.
Though there is a myriad of advantages of smart soil moisture sensors, they are not capable of improving climate-based issues. Much of the moisture is vanished because of evapotranspiration. This is the reason why farmers must constantly ponder over something more effective than SMS controllers. The best method to opt for is using smart weather-based irrigation controllers (WBICs). They are efficacious in functioning with good climate sensors that receive real-time climate data easily. WBICs are also efficient for customizing the schedule of irrigated farmlands.
Remotely Monitoring Farms Via Smart Irrigation
There are various soul-crushing problems such as cracks, leaks, etc., that are not easily found by traditional irrigation methods. Smart irrigation techniques are also effective in discovering any cracks or leakage in tanks much faster, and users can take the necessary measures for repairing the cracks well in advance.
In a nutshell, it can be said that the aforementioned factors are crucial to keeping in mind and to unleash the true potential of smart irrigation systems and IoT technology.
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