Smart Farm System ǀ Agricultural and Greenhouse Farming
Agriculture is the growing of crops or plants and raising livestock to achieve satisfactory income. It is a business of acquiring land and other resources needed for farming and making a profit by selling and distributing crops, plants, and animal products. Farming in modern days is high tech. Farmers now invest in farming machinery and are equipped with technical skills and knowledge to increase production mass. For instance, farmers use tablets, computers, drones or robotics for monitoring livestock. Webcams, automated feeders and climate control systems are being installed in barns so farmers can monitor their animals through electronic devices. These technologies allow farmers to increase efficiency and take good care of their livestock.
Aside from raising livestock, the farming practice of growing crops in a greenhouse can protect the crops from extreme weather and climate conditions. Greenhouse farming enables crops to be grown in a sheltered environment with controlled temperature and also prevents pests from destroying crops. A greenhouse structure is covered by a material that can be transparent or semi-transparent. The efficiency of a greenhouse structure is influenced by the size of the structure, the amount of sunlight shining through the structure, the amount of natural ventilation provided, heating requirements and the efficiency of the structure materials. Depending on the types of structures and material, greenhouses are classified as glasshouses, screen houses, shade houses, etc.
Greenhouse farming has advantages such as allowing efficient management of crops and growing crops in a shielded environment to protect the crops from extreme conditions and protecting the crops from pests. By keeping the crops in greenhouses and isolated from the environment, a farmer can easily identify the infected crops and control the infection. Cultivating crops in greenhouses also allows the crops to grow better and have a more appealing look, which can be sold at a higher price. Greenhouses that are more technologically advanced also enable crops to grow outside of their typical season by creating a suitable condition for the crops to grow in greenhouses. Greenhouses also offer a great variety of crops to be available off-season. The crops are grown in a controlled environment where farmers are able to track, monitor and take precise care of the crops. For example, some advanced greenhouses are equipped with irrigation systems that waters the plants automatically and ensure the soil is in optimum moisture content which promotes faster growth and gets higher yields.
A smart farming system is a concept for farm management that is driven by technology. Technologies such as IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence), drones and robotics are implemented in farming to increase production and improve quality by reducing human labour with automation. Traditionally, the farming practices for the cultivation of crops are the same and repeated. There is no control over the effect of weather on the crops. Whereas, in smart farming, each farm can be analysed to grow the most suitable crops. Unlike in traditional farming where maintenance is done manually on all fields which can be a financial burden, smart farming allows early detection of the areas that need maintenance which is more cost-saving in performing maintenance. Smart farming is gaining popularity in the agricultural industry due to a shortage of labour to meet the increasing demands. Therefore, agriculture automation is starting to attract farmers to help to manage their farms.