Farming has long been a field at the forefront of technology. High-tech seeds and fertilizers are coupled with the latest machinery to produce consistent yields, year after year. M2M (machine-to-machine) technology is also sprouting up on farms around the world, helping farmers to increase their efficiencies and work more productively.
In South Korea, melon farmers are using a remote-control system to watch over their crops from afar. Many of these farmers have to travel an hour or more to the greenhouses where the melons grow, but sometimes they have a need for more instant insight into their crop. For instance, if the temperature drops the melons are susceptible to freezing. But a new technology system allows farmers to check on the weather and the crop conditions remotely.
Farmers can control the greenhouses via their smartphones using a system enabled by Telit Wireless Solutions, www.telit.com. Currently, the wireless control system is in operation on several melon farms in South Korea and is scheduled to be installed in more than 1,000 greenhouses in 2012.
The farmers needed a way to add remote management to the existing motor-control systems in their greenhouses, so they approached Telit about the problem. Working with its partners, Telit developed a solution that allows the farmers to maintain consistent crop temperatures by remotely covering or uncovering their crops inside large, clear vinyl greenhouses at night or during cold weather. Previously, farmers would have to cover the crops manually, leading to a big output of labor and time.
In the future, additional features could be added to the application, such as humidity and temperature sensors, or possibly surveillance cameras to prevent theft of crops.
In addition to remote monitoring of crops, innovations are also coming to the way farmers plant. Trimble, www.trimble.com, recently announced new technologies designed to help growers get those seeds in the ground.
Vehicle Sync for the Trimble FmX integrated display will allow multiple equipment operators to wirelessly transfer information in realtime while in the field. Data regarding guidance lines and coverage maps will be sent between vehicles, rather than having to take time to stop and transfer it manually. Farmers will be able to track other vehicles working in the same fields, as well as detect any overlap of planting lines.
Trimble also announced new seed monitoring capability in the CFX-750 display has been added to the Trimble Field-IQ crop input control system. This allows farmers to monitor planters or granular strip till systems. Seed monitoring allows operators to gain insight into how their seeding system is performing.
While no one would ever dare say farming is easy, new M2M innovations such as these are helping to take a little bit of the stress out of working the fields.