Networking a farm and adding Internet access opens the door to integrating technology for remote monitoring and control operations. The University of Georgia has established several wireless on-farm networks and a mesh network over the Tifton campus which provides the framework for network cameras and wireless sensors. Monitoring the position and status of center pivot irrigation systems, remote control of pumps and gates, sending commands to autonomous vehicles, data and voice transfer to field operators, remote diagnosis of pests, and a video surveillance are just a few applications we can perform. Researchers have recently added an additional mesh network at the Stripling Irrigation Park in Camilla, GA-a site which will play an important role in water efficiency and sensor development in the Future Farmstead.
Smart technology will help integrate the home and the farm and greatly extend the geographic reach of the farm manager. The network is the crucial link between the farm and the house, enabling the farmer to monitor the status of operations, respond to alerts and send commands when action is required.
The FF will develop a software tool that will take advantage of Internet-based monitoring and control systems and link multiple data sources to decision making tools. The open source software-hardware solution will allow users to configure and react to information using a graphical representation of sensors on photo realistic representation of the farm. This will be displayed on a computer, phone or internet capable portable device. Individual components will be able to initiate alerts visually and audibly or via email pager or phone.
The efficiencies offered by on-farm networks will be realized as savings in time, labor, or fuel. The development of new wireless and wired internet based opportunities and control systems for agriculture and rural communities will contribute to competitiveness of US agriculture and promise to save a minimum of 15 percent in energy costs.