Introduction

Remote Signals in collaboration with VT and Teagasc have developed and deployed  soil temperature monitoring devices in every county of Ireland.

These soil monitor devices yield valuable data on soil conditions for the entire country. The live information feed from each of these sensors is freely available to the public as a demonstration of the power of IoT. These smart sensors provide farmers with new information streams for precision agriculture. The sensors can offer accurate indicators for when the earth is ready to be ploughed and planted.

Until now, continuous temperature measurement has been a time-consuming chore which requires regular checks to ensure accurate readings. Using Sigfox devices for temperature monitoring reduces cost of deployment, cuts the farmer’s time spent overseeing the sensors, and ensures clear information is readily available in a straight-forward graphical display. To date this information has been difficult to acquire due to sensor battery life and relative high cost. Using the VT IoT network the devices can be left in situ for months and years without requiring new batteries.

The Challenge

Knowledge on soil temperature is critical for successful growth of agricultural produce but is particularly important for cattle pasture. Knowing when fertiliser application should commence is key to promoting higher yields. Nitrogen is a common fertiliser which is greatly impacted by the temperature of the soil. Recent Teagasc research has shown that, until soil temperatures are consistently over 5ºC nitrogen will have little or no impact. Teagasc advises when the temperature is consistently above 5ºC and is rising, to apply 23 units of Nitrogen per acre to fields that have 5-8cm of grass as these will respond the best.

Until recently farmers would have to periodically deploy temperature rods into the ground to find the temperature of the soil. This is a time-consuming process and temperature sensors would require recharging after a few hours of use. These sensors are costly and in many cases, they are shared around which increases the wear and tear on the devices.

The Solution

These Sigfox-enabled soil temperature monitoring sensors provide long battery life and live messages with your farm to management personnel. These devices can save energy, extend shelf life, and inform better decision making.

Grass growth needs a temperature of over 6ºC for significant growth, but growth rate increases rapidly as the temperature goes from 6ºC up to 12-13ºC and then more slowly until the temperature reaches 20-25ºC, which is the optimum for growth. Alerts can be set up so that when the adequate temperature is reached the farmer will receive an email or app alert.

The main benefits of the Remote Signals soil temperature monitor are;

·         Straight forward step-by-step install,

·         Soil Temperatures sent directly to your phone,

·         iOS and Android Apps available,

·         Collects data every 3 hours,

·         AA Battery powered – 3 years life,

·         Sensor has extensive coverage across Ireland and other European countries on the low power Sigfox network.

The devices which have been deployed to date can be visualised on the Pastur Land Temperature Data website. Devices have been deployed around each county in Ireland.The graph below shows soil and ground temperature and the average over time. This information can be used to make predictions and decisions on crop planting and fertiliser spreading.

To view the Pastur Land Temperature Data please visit https://soiltemp.remotesignals.ie/

For more information about IoT in Ireland and Sigfox products please visit vt-iot.com

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