Agriculture and the IoT: Networked Globe Briefing – 15 April 2014.

Today’s IoT news looks at agricultural aspects of M2M technologies with a US based smart sprinkler system, a cloud based cattle management that uses a non-digestible smart pellet to monitor cows’ health and a real life example from Tasmania on how the Internet of Things can help farmers.

IoT saves Tasmanian farmers’ water supply

In an example of the internet of things being used to protect natural resources, 70 farmers along Tasmania’s Ringarooma river maintained their water access thanks to an early online Sense-T prototype dashboard.

The simple online dashboard presents real-time data about water flows in the Ringarooma, drawing data from sensors owned by the Tasmanian State Government, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology and the Federal government’s CSIRO scientific agency.

Farmers monitoring the dashboard noticed water levels were about to reach critical levels and collaborated to release enough water from their own dams to keep the river from falling below critical levels.

Had the river fallen below mandated levels, the state’s irrigation regulator would have issued  a “cease-to-take” order forcing farms in the district to stop drawing water for their irrigated crops.

Last month, Networked Globe interviewed Sense-T director Ros Harvey on how the project is helping the state’s agriculture.

Vital Herd Selects ThingWorx M2M Technology Platform for Livestock Management

Internet of Things and M2M platform provider ThingWorx announced Vital Herd, a Software as a Service provider of animal health and nutrition management, has selected the ThingWorx application platform to power its M2M non-invasive individual animal monitoring technology. This technology will offer intelligence and analytics to dairy and beef operations to improve animal health and nutrition management.

Vital Herd’s first product targets dairy producers and offers them a data-driven solution for improving productivity. Each producing cow ingests an ePill containing a sensor which captures real time vital sign information from each cow over its lifetime.

The collected data offers new and early insight into illnesses, nutrition programs and environmental factors like heat stress which can affect production.

“Cattle health, nutritional and well-being management today is done largely by visually inspecting the animals throughout the day. This is a very inefficient way to identify problems because it relies on physical clues, which occur late when it is difficult and costly to reverse,” said Brian Walsh, CEO, Vital Herd. “Being able to collect individual animal data economically that can provide early insights into sub-optimal health or nutrition is vitally important and can make a very meaningful impact in productivity.”

Broadcom controls Cloud-Connected Robotic Sprinkler System

Semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom Corporation has released details on how its low-power applications processor is the technology behind a new product designed to dramatically reduce water consumption.

The Droplet Robotic Sprinkler uses real-time data from more than 10,000 US weather stations, millions of square miles of soil samples and comprehensive plant biological information to make decisions on when, where and how much water to deliver.

“Droplet is the world’s first smart sprinkler system that combines the latest technology in robotics, cloud computing and connected services to transform the way sprinkler systems function. Being first-to-market was a critical requirement and provides a significant advantage in the consumer market,” said Steve Fernholz, Droplet Founder and Chief Executive Officer.

About the author

Paul Wallbank is the founding editor of Networked Globe and has nearly twenty years experience of working in and reporting on computers, the internet and the future of our connected society.