The trial is designed to demonstrate how digital technologies can make New Zealand agriculture more productive and competitive.
The New Zealand IoT Alliance and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) have teamed up to launch a Farm IoT trial. The Foundation for Arable Research runs Kowhai Farm, host of the pilot project.
The IoT Alliance recognizes that implementing technology that delivers nitrate readings to the cloud helps farmers to improve agricultural practices. Farmers can analyze the data to mitigate the environmental impact of agriculture on New Zealand.
IoT Sensors Drive Healthier Agriculture Practices
Kowhai Farm has installed IoT sensors in groundwater monitoring wells to help farmers monitor nitrates, a byproduct of crop fertilizers. While plant health benefits from nitrogen, unused amounts become nitrates which infiltrate groundwater and pollute lakes, streams, and rivers.
Supporters hope that the innovative pilot program’s technology helps farmers recognize the value of deploying IoT solutions on their lands. The program’s sensors include:
- Hydrometric nitrate sensors
- Aquaflex soil moisture sensors
- Climate and plant health sensors
See also: How AI can aid the agriculture sector
While trial currently uses the Sigfox network, the next phase will include sensors from Spark and KotahiNet. KotahiNet has a LoRaWAN network and Spark has both LoRaWAN and a CAT-M1 network. Four companies, Tru Track, Lincoln Agritech, Met Technology Limited, and Aquaflex NZ, are collaborating on this initial phase of the trial.
“This will further add to the data we’re collecting on growing conditions. Overall, the pilot will provide valuable insight into the potential of these emerging technologies, which could help boost the productivity and sustainability of New Zealand farm management practices,” said the alliance.