IoT system harvests big data for “smart farming”

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The agricultural industry is turning to the internet of things (IoT) for a new system designed to bring together large datasets on climate and crops.
Researchers from Norwich Research Park have launched the scalable, open-source information management system, dubbed CropSight, to maintain and collate important crop performance and microclimate information.
It is hoped that the scheme will help plant scientists to understand the dynamics between crop performance, genotypes and environmental factors, and for agronomists and farmers monitoring crops in fluctuating agricultural conditions.
CropSight, developed by researchers from the Earlham Institute, John Innes Centre and University of East Anglia (UEA), provides near real-time environmental and crop growth monitoring.
It is accessible both in the field through smart devices and back at the lab. Key features include automated data collection and information management; monitoring of biological experiments through network sensing devices; and daily synchronising of data and crop growth images.
Dr Simon Griffiths of the John Innes Centre said: “We believe that the CropSight system could have a significant impact on scalable plant phenotyping leading to more efficient gene discovery, crop breeding, and ultimately end-user benefits.”
Dr Ji Zhou of the Earlham Institute added: “Through connecting environmental readings with crop growth dataset using IoT-based technologies, we have demonstrated how the technology can be applied in crop research and agricultural practices. Additionally, with the development of national IoT infrastructure, CropSight can be expanded to even larger scale and multiple locations, which can then help agricultural practitioners make prompt decisions across a country’s arable land.”

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