Sustainable agriculture grows smarter with IoT

Since agriculture began more than 10,000 years ago, it has always been at the mercy of nature. While technological advances have increased productivity many times over, farmers all over the world continue to face challenges managing their water resources.

However, we’re now seeing that the Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling a more sustainable approach to industries like agriculture. Case in point: Craig Blackburn at Blackhills farm, a complex 990-acre bustling operation in  New Zealand is using IoT tools to help his business not just survive, but thrive—while also conserving natural resources.

SCADAfarm, an IoT tool developed with  Schneider Electric on Microsoft’s Azure IoT Platform by  WaterForce, a regional water and irrigation management company, allows Blackburn to  remotely monitor,manage and analyze water usage across his operation.

Since he began using SCADAfarm, Blackburn has reported a 30 percent decrease in water consumption and a 50 percent increase in energy efficiency on his property. With water conservation among our most pressing environmental challenges (agriculture uses 70 percent of the world’s available fresh water), IoT solutions enable a myriad of industries to operate more sustainably.

Cloud-based IoT solutions like the one Blackburn uses aren’t just beneficial to the environment—they’re a boon to business, as well. By leveraging Azure IoT Hub, Blackburn now has the ability to remotely customize sprinklers for specific crops, operate irrigators and pumps, and utilize analytics from the cloud to incorporate real-time data on weather patterns, as well as providing a secure and reliable record of irrigation and effluent distribution for compliance purposes. The results not only allowed Blackburn more precise control, they also saved him time and money.

Visit our Transform blog to learn more about how Microsoft is simplifying IoT to make it even more accessible to organizations interested in digital transformation.