Smart Farming

March 2021


Jack Bobo, a well-respected food futurist and founder and CEO of Futurity, expects the food and agriculture landscape to change more in the next 30 years than it has over the past two centuries. His colleague trend watcher and futurist Richard van Hooijdonk, predicts that the future will bring major technological changes that will make agriculture smarter, more efficient and more sustainable. To meet growing food demand, farmers will increasingly rely on precision agriculture, using IoT, sensor technology, satellite technology, drones and robotics to collect data and accurately monitor crop performance. "Genetic engineering will enable us to produce more nutritious food that is more resistant to diseases and pests. Farmers will increasingly adopt sustainable farming practices to reduce the use of water, space and pesticides and produce less waste", van Hooijdonk commented. Infrared sensors play an essential role in monitoring the water loss of plants, allowing precision irrigation and variety selection for dry climates.

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Climate change, manifesting itself in storms, floods and especially droughts have continued to trouble businesses all over the world. This change has significant, often negative, impact on farming systems globally. It is projected that semi-arid regions of the world will expand, with increased and sporadic temperature spikes, and decreased and sporadic precipitation. In many areas, the crop varieties and species currently grown by farmers cannot tolerate these stresses, with resultant losses in productivity, and potentially negative consequences for food security.

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Kansas State University runs several research programs aimed at the identification of tech-nological opportunities to minimize economic and environmental impact and increase food security in the changing climates.

One of sites for these programs is at K-State’s Northwest Research and Extension Center, which maintains long-term cropping system studies to evaluate cropping intensity and tillage effects on water use, yield formation and critical soil properties. The ultimate goal of the program is to maintain or increase productivity of crops in water-limited, semiarid conditions.

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The ability of the measuring device to maintain its calibration under service conditions and over a long period of time is of fundamental interest in temperature control. The IRt/c is rated at less than 0.1°C repeatability and has no measurable long term calibration change, which makes it well suited for reliable temperature control. These attributes are inherent in the basic design and construction of each IRt/c.

Repeatability is defined as the ability of a measuring device to reproduce its calibration under identical conditions. The IRt/c is a solid, hermetically sealed, fully potted system that does not change mechanically or metallurgically during service. There are no active electronic components and no power source to produce the signal – only the thermoelectric effects that produce a thermocouple signal. Long term accuracy is influenced by the same things that influence repeatability: mechanical changes and metallurgical changes. It is well known that thermocouples can change calibration over time due to these effects.

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Exergen Global announced the AGRI edition as its latest addition to its extensive AutoSmart IRt/c family line. The AutoSmart Transmitter is the first transmitter in the world capable of fully calibrating Exergen IRt/c sensors to provide unprecedented accuracy of 0.1 °F or 0.1 °C by custom calibration over a very specific range providing two unique advantages:

1. an accuracy that is 10 times better than standards on infrared sensors with the same output,

2. a repeatability error of ± 0.01°C.

Over the years more and more sensors are employed in greenhouses to measure a large variety of parameters, allowing professionals to closely monitor crop or flower condition thereby increasing yield and quality. Temperature is a key parameter as it drives plant development. Greenhouse climates are controlled by air temperature. Plant or leaf temperature is of added value as it is a direct measurement of the developmental rate of the plant itself instead of the indirect measure of air temperature. Due to radiation and/or transpiration plant temperature can significantly deviate from the air temperature. The combination of air and leaf temperature improves insight in the plant water status: i.e., transpiration and thus the amount of water plants require. Plant temperature is also used to prevent heat stress.

Read the complete Press Release here

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