Network connectivity developments have enabled remote monitoring in farming.

It would have been unheard of 30, 20 or even 10 years ago, but farmers are coming to PCB design and assemblers such as MJS Designs for assistance with developing technologies that aid in monitoring all of the elements associated with crops.

These agricultural customers are looking for ways to monitor their crops, including environmental monitoring, farm asset management, irrigation control and soil health.

 Network Connectivity to Infrastructure

The advancements of LoRa and LoRaWAN: Low-power, wide-area network (known as LPWAN(s) technologies were developed to support a major portion of the billions of devices forecasted for the internet of things (IoT), and sensor technology has helped transform the way farming is conducted. The physical layer, or the wireless modulation, works with LPWAN wireless sensors that transmit data from the farm to the cloud through private networks. And the benefits of long-range wireless modulations define the device-to-infrastructure linkage and deliver continuous interoperability between manufacturers and existing systems.

In rural areas, LoRaWAN can send high-value data up to 15 kilometers away from sensors using batteries that last up to 10 years. Until now, the distance for a device to work and notify farmers about which crops require attention was about 500 feet. New devices are offering the functionality for farmers to be miles away, yet have control from the comfort of their office or dining room table.

Why Farming?

MJS Designs works with agricultural clients to design and develop farming technology that includes the ability to monitor conditions remotely, from locations that could be many miles from a crop.

The idea is that sensors will send alerts about crop operations to farmers so they can control and adjust aspects as needed. Soil moisture is the main item farmers want to monitor and control. Wirelessly connected sensors can aid farmers in making optimal irrigation decisions for an enhanced crop with smart soil moisture measurements. Sensors can measure the active root zone to make certain that crops are irrigated correctly. Clay, clay-loam, saline clay, sand and peat are all types of soil that are compatible with the probes.

Due to the wireless LoRaWAN connectivity, probe placement is adjustable. The installation is straightforward, and devices can easily be moved based on current irrigation needs. The probes are weatherproof and intended to be in the field to receive accurate measurements.

Today and going forward, the agricultural industry will have the ability to monitor soil quality from surface to roots, compare areas, modulate fertilizing, analyze historical patterns and better manage crops long term. This may incorporate the requirement for circuit board design and wire harness assemblies.

MJS Design is here to support this growing industry base. Please reach out to our team for electrical engineering design and PCB assembly services in order to begin exploring the possibilities in the agricultural sector.