The connected Livestock farmer

I was born in a village farmer but I soon discovered that I was passionate about mathematics and physics than the vineyards and sheep. For years I tried to convince my neighbors to the benefit of the use of technology in agriculture and livestock, but if change management is difficult in other industries, here is a titanic task I could not get.

I agree with Beecham Research, Ltd. news , Agriculture and Livestock may not be the most glamorous M2M service sector in today’s heavily populated post-industrial world of the Internet, smartphones, and computer tablets, yet it is very large with many sub-sectors, nevertheless; all of the over 7,000,000,000 humans on the planet these days must eat, after all.

… and with the need to feed a projected world population of 9.6 billion by 2050, I am convinced that the World need a revolution in the so-called primary sector.

Now I want to try again with my vision of “The connected livestock farmer”.

Note: The Connected Farm™  is a Trimble trademark.
Similar to other promising visions in other industries “Ford´s vision for the connected car”, that are attracting many analyst, car manufacturing, technology vendors and consumers it is obvious that we need to have a vision for agriculture and farmer things  that are something more important as our daily healthy food.

My vision for the “The Connected livestock farmer” is: “We must provide each livestock farmer the M2M services that allow them turn every parcel of arable land and every animal into a precision smart and ecological connected livestock farm”.

To execute this vision it will be necessary to apply the same tactics:

–          Regulation of Government

–          An Agriculture and Farmer Partner rich ecosystem (

  • Tech vendors, Insurance companies, vehicles manufacturers, chemicals,…

–          New Business Models (learn from Connected Car)

–          Safe data and reliable communication

–          Low Cost ( market place of M2M Agriculture services) (eg Home Security Services)

–          Business Insights – Business Analytics

–          And Evangelize, evangelize

M2M is just beginning to really develop in this industry – imagine sensors embedded in soil to capture nutrient, moisture, and soil health. The applications and enterprise solutions possible for this burgeoning field are enough to make product and service companies’ mouths water.

Agriculture and farming are sectors that happily embrace every technological advance that enhances production and reduces cost – something machine-to-machine (M2M) is very good for. M2M technology is a tool of proven effectiveness when applied to food production.

More info in this post Agricultural M2M: The farming revolution

The requirements for M2M services and applications for “The connected livestock farmer” need to take into account among others considerations like

  • A      low integration and transmission cost
  • A      very low level of consumption (ensuring several years of autonomy using a      miniature battery) and a very low carbon footprint
  • Easy to implement
  • User friendly and Business Insights
  • Cost

M2M technology and wireless sensor networks offer measurable financial and operational advantages in the agricultural, food production and commercial farming sectors. From lowering and controlling production and processing costs to increasing crop yields and manufacturing outputs.

However the market is still very fragmented and there is not a holistic view of the business need of this industry. Small, medium and large farmers need help to maintain a vital industry. !!!  Let’s build the connected livestock farmer platform!!! .  !!! Let’s help them!!!

Next, a very brief sampling of companies that are working in M2M Smart Agriculture industry:

1 – Connectivity

Deutsche Telekom agrees agricultural M2M deal  with MEDRIA Technologies. Around 5,000 farms across Europe are set to be equipped with technology that will notify farmers automatically when calving begins or when their cows are “on heat”.  Specifically, farms will receive Telekom SIM cards from the Germany-based operator and Vel’Phone and HeatPhone monitoring solutions from France-based MEDRIA.

Neul: Efficient farming is extremely important, we need to maximize yield, protect from disease infestation and show provenance of origin. Monitoring hydration and fertilizer levels, screening for pollutants or air borne disease, tracking animals and monitoring their vital signs are just examples of what is being done. NeulNET™ can assist by providing a wide area wireless network that can be deployed and then moved when and where monitoring is required, assisting the supply chain and minimizing waste.

SIGFOX is the first cellular network operator to provide a low cost data transmission service. The service is completely dedicated to low throughput Machine-to-Machine/ Internet of Things applications. Machine to machine can be used to control automatic irrigation based on the conditions of the soil. This managed connectivity solution alerts the farmer when an irrigation pivot is malfunctioning, saving enormous amounts of power and time spent checking the pivots periodically, hence improving profitability. M2M also monitors other data of the soil, such as ammonia, fertilizer and pesticide levels.

SafariCom: The government has so far documented more than 25 mobile telephone farming innovations, that it says is a manifestation of a true revolution in the country’s agricultural production. Most of these innovations are mobile-based apps for agriculture and include Safaricom’s iCow, infonet BioVision, Natural Farmer Info Service and the newly launched iKilimo.

Telefonica : Crop solutions, such as the one presented by Telefónica’s ally Telit, allow farmers to maintain crop temperatures by remotely covering or uncovering their crops and clear vinyl greenhouses at night or during cold weather.

Telstra:  Agriculture & Environment

Vodafone Connected Agriculture–  The link include a report but I could not download it.


2 – Sensors, Devices and Wireless Sensor Networks

Digi InternationalDigi designs and manufactures Drop-in Networking solutions that provide complete, end-to-end wireless connectivity to electronic devices in locations where wire line infrastructure doesn’t exist or satisfy customer needs.

Libelium: Smart Agriculture applications –  Libelium delivers a powerful, modular, easy to program open source sensor platform for the Internet of Things enabling system integrators to implement reliable M2M Smart Agriculture solutions with minimum time to market.

Mesh Systems : Agriculture: M2M Technology & Wireless Sensor Networks – Mesh Systems´ agricultural M2M solutions are mission critical to monitoring, managing and controlling remote assets and systems across mass acreage and multiple production and processing facilities.

TST-Sistemas – TSmarT allows connecting any type of sensor or data acquisition device. As an example here is of a list of sensors that have been already integrated into various projects within the TSmarT platform.

Verdtech –  The company  have created a new language with our patented sensor, Plantsens,to optimize fertigation to solve important problems in agriculture crops (viticulture, citrus, subtropical, stone fruits, biomass and olive). We use other different sensors, like weather or nutrition implemented in the soil (NO3, chloride etc) and soil moisture data to understand plant daily performance

Politekno – the sensors network is used to monitor environmental parameters of crop cultivation and know the exact condition in which plants are growing. By utilizing the sensors such as humidity, temperature, and light, the farmers can avoid the risk of frost or control the level of irrigation based on soil moisture and leaf wetness.

3 – Solutions providers

OnFarm is the only solution to integrate agriculture data from different hardware and information sources in a comprehensive dashboard designed specifically for growers.  Consider it your ally for information about your farming operations – your sensors, equipment, field conditions, people, and more. OnFarm has the largest network of integrated partners available, with dozens of options designed to meet your specific agriculture needs.

DN2K –  Precision Agriculture solution- The DWorks Solution Suite aggregates field data from machine telematics, irrigation systems, grain management systems in remote locations providing the ultimate Precision Agriculture solution. DWorks is an open platform and can collect data from any vendor’s system, device or asset. This composite data is then streamlined and encrypted and is transmitted to the DN2K Cloud where it is formatted into easy to read graphics, and delivered where needed headquarters, laptops and mobile devices.

MapShots, Inc. and AgSense have teamed up to deliver real-time irrigation data for growers.   The integration of MapShots’ AgStudio® suite of precision agronomy software with AgSense’s WagNet cloud based wireless network is a good example of how partners can simplify the value chain.

Dirt Road Data’s Verif-Eye product line utilizes the ThingWorx technology platform to power its cloud-based solution for smart poultry farming, providing an end-to-end application to wirelessly collect, store, and visualize critical poultry operational data, including bird counts, egg metrics, and feed usage. This enables farmers to analyze real-time metrics, helping them drive smarter decisions in farm management and production.

Datang – Front-end equipment of agricultural remote diagnosis system supports multiple sensor interfaces, while supporting audio, video function, can provide first-hand on-site professional data for agricultural experts effectively. In addition, agricultural experts can login agriculture diagnosis system through PC terminals, to realize the remote control of irrigation, and so on, which solves situation of agriculture experts extremely lacking and plays an important role in realizing agricultural modernization.

Ericsson M2M Solution Supports Crab Farming in China – Ericsson works with China Agriculture University to launch a “Smart Fish Farming Project” in Yixing, Jiangsu. Real-time remote monitoring and control of the water quality of the pond where Chinese mitten crabs are raised. Help reduce energy consumption, save labor and enhance productivity

ClimateMinder:   ClimateMinder’s battery/solar operated wireless sensors collect real-time soil and environmental data and transmits this data to back-end servers through a cellular network. Users receive text messages or email alerts on their cell phone and/or use the Web site or GrowMobile cell phone application to browse measurements and control alert and control conditions.

Deere & Company. The Intelligent Mobile Equipment Technologies Group, which includes Phoenix International Corporation, an electronic design and manufacturing company focused on agriculture and construction markets and fully owned by Deere since 1999, is part of growing agricultural service offerings that feature telematics, precision farming, and agricultural management solutions.

PGA M2M, Inc. -A Digi International partner, it’s no surprise that PGA is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, with offices in North Dakota, as PGA specializes in tank monitoring for both the Oil and Gas and the Agriculture industries, the latter including ammonia fertilizer tank monitoring and dry fertilizer bin monitoring.

Trimble – Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, is well known in the M2M industry. It acquired fleet management service provider PeopleNet last year and Belgium’s Punch Telematix in 2010. Extensive Connected Farm™ offerings including the “precision agriculture” products and services that require much greater precision than that found in most other sectors.

Valley Irrigation – Valley Irrigation is part of Valmont International Corp., headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, and sells mechanized irrigation equipment globally. Involved in “precision irrigation” for over 55 years, its equipment and systems include, increasingly, RF and cellular remote monitoring components familiar to those in the M2M industry.



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