Many historians believe that the agricultural revolution was the most significant event in human history. It allowed settlers to produce a sustainable amount of food effectively. However, with the rise in worldwide population, farming operations have become increasingly complex, vast, and optimized. Technological revolutions make farming operations more productive than ever, harvesting more crops per area and yielding higher quality products. Temperature sensor can play a vital role in this technological revolution.
Agricultural Temperature Sensor
Temperature sensors are critical in two key categories of smart agriculture – ambient condition monitoring and automatic asset monitoring. Ice wine harvesting occurs within the narrow temperature range of -10°C and -12°C during a harvesting season.
Highly accurate temperature and humidity sensors and precise predictive temperature forecasts are necessary for the ice wine industry. Temperature sensors play a significant role in monitoring the ambient conditions of physical space. Even light sensors are widely used. Additionally, they play an essential role in nearly all intelligent agriculture asset monitoring applications.
Temperature Sensor – Importance of Measuring Temperature
Measuring air and temperature moisture can make or break your agricultural operation. Thus, it is vital to get it right. Temperature and humidity go hand in hand when raising crops in a greenhouse. Partially because imbalances in either can often give similar results. Plants are responsive to their environments.
Furthermore, plants depend on a specific set of air conditions to survive. This is primarily due to their need to respire. Plant respiration is the process of water leaving the leaves through evaporation via the stomata on the underside of the leaves. Stomata are tiny openings, usually on the surface of a plant’s leaves, which allow for the regulation of gas exchanges and moisture regulation during photosynthesis.
Temperature Sensor – Does High Temperature Affect Agriculture?
Imbalances in humidity can affect this process. If humidity levels are too high, the evaporating water from the stomata has no place to go as the air is already saturated.
Consequently, despite constantly opening the stomata, the plant fails to respire and can essentially drown in a soup of trapped CO2 and water. The plant dying altogether is the worst-case scenario here, but at best, this will still result in stunted growth in the plant due to an inability to conduct its everyday processes. Additionally, crops are more susceptible to various diseases, fungi, and parasites that thrive in humid conditions.
High temperature has similar effects in influencing the stomata, though it can have the opposite effect. Plants tend to close their stomata at high temperatures with low relative humidity to preserve water. However, warm air can hold more significant volumes of moisture, meaning that the combination of high relative humidity and high temperature can be lethal.
Temperature Sensor – Does Low Temperature Affect Agriculture?
Once again, low humidity affects those all-important stomata. Air with low relative humidity levels can cause plants to close their stomata to conserve water, much like the effects of high temperature.
In tandem with this is the effect of cold air, which is less capable of retaining moisture. Cold temperatures also cause many plants to stunt their growth as a self-protection mechanism, like the effects of winter when most plants lose their leaves and lie dormant.
Imbalances in temperature or humidity can have a roster of detrimental effects on plants and potentially cause waste of whole crops.
How Can Temperature Sensors Help
As we move ever more into the age of the Internet of Things, the range of sensors and transmitters to aid agricultural processes is multiplying. From relatively basic, hand-held devices to intelligent sensors that feed information direct a central source for in-depth analysis. It is possible to measure the exact conditions of your growing environment, and you can base your actions upon them. Additionally, you can even automate these processes.
With intelligent humidity and temperature sensors coupled with responsive automation systems that can regulate the temperature and humidity of your greenhouse, growers can leave these essential functions to the technology. This releases more time for more demanding, less mundane operations.
Soil Temperature Sensors in Agriculture
Soil temperature dramatically influences the agricultural productivity of a country. The measurement of Soil temperature has many advantages in agriculture. For example, based on soil temperature data, farmers or agricultural sector investors can decide the crop type appropriate for a particular soil, the exact time of planting the crops, etc. On the other hand, these people can optimize the temperature of that agricultural field by some means or mechanism.
Temperature affects several processes in soil and soil ecosystems, which makes it imperative to measure soil temperature. Soil temperature affects the following
- water potential of the soil
- soil translocation
- microbial activity
Factors That Influence Soil Temperature
These can be classified as surface and subsurface soil temperature factors. Surface soil temperature factors include:
- radiation from the sun,
- the slope of the land,
- water content,
- vegetative cover
- and albedo, or the light reflected by the earth
Subsurface soil temperature factors include:
- Heat flux from the surface.
- Water content.
- Bulk density.
- Heat capacity of the soil.
Soil Temperature And Heat Flow
There are three major heat transfer processes in soils: conduction, convection, and radiation. These processes are affected by the soil medium.
Challenges Of Soil Temperature Measurement
Some of the challenges of soil temperature measurement are non-uniform temperature distribution, low resolution, low accuracy in modeling, self-heating effect, and short life span of the sensors.
Role of Soil Temperature Measurements in Farming
The temperature of the agricultural soil conditions the microbial processes which take place in the soil. Temperature influences the absorption of nutrients, especially phosphorus, which is lower in cold soils.
Soil temperature is critical because it influences:
- In biotic processes.
- In chemicals.
- For germination that is usually above 5ºC, measured in real time with the soil temperature sensor.
Each plant has its specific requirements. The top layer of agricultural soil suffers the most significant temperature fluctuations. The temperature of the surface layer is transmitted upwards to the air and downwards to lower layers of the earth and the subsoil, damping rapidly and significantly downwards.
Water, an essential resource in plants, can be a scarce good on many occasions, so many crops depend on irrigation. A new study shows that the soil’s temperature influences how the plant acquires this resource. According to scientists, if the soil temperature decreases, even with enough water to meet the demands of the plant, trees such as olive and almond trees have a more challenging time acquiring water resources.
Need for Temperature Sensor
The temperature and humidity sensor can monitor the changes in air temperature and humidity in the agriculture planting environment, designed in two significant variations. In one variation, the sensor acts as a trigger when a specific temperature or humidity level is reached and a particular circuit is activated. Other variations are used to measure the actual temperature or humidity in the ambient air, and it has a different analog response to the level of those two atmospheric readings.
A simple temperature sensor relies on the metallic expansion principles of thermodynamics. In contrast, the complex one, especially for electronic circuits, depends on the voltage drop across a transistor to determine the current temperature. On the other hand, humidity sensors also measure the temperature in the air since it is related to the moisture in the air to the current air temperature. These sensors typically rely on a capacitor to determine moisture content.
Role of the Temperature Sensor
The temperature sensors play two critical roles in the intelligent agriculture-ambient conditions of physical space and mechanical asset monitoring. Such as, ice wine harvesting happens within a narrow temperature when the ambient temperature first reaches between 10⁰C and -120⁰ C. So, the accurate temperature and humidity sensors and precise temperature forecasts are critical to this industry.
Besides, temperature and humidity sensors can help to improve the agriculture process. The plant needs water to survive and measures relative humidity of how much moisture the air can hold at any given temperature. Temperature and humidity sensors are used to control and monitor the relative humidity and temperature in a controlled environment like climate chambers and a greenhouse.
The sensors are wall-mounted in a greenhouse. In a shading place with good air circulation in the environment during outdoor monitoring, a sensor can be installed in a louver box together with an agrometeorological station.
Large-scale greenhouse management is getting more accessible because it is now possible to measure the exact conditions of the growing environment or even in automated processes. By operating intelligent sensors coupled with responsive automation systems which can perform functions such as regulating the temperature and humidity of the greenhouse, growers can leave these essential functions to the technology.
Future of Temperature Sensors in Agriculture
The intelligent agriculture industry is continually growing and expanding, with new solutions coming to the market almost daily. Devices that aggregate sensor data, relay critical information to farmers and ranchers, and help optimize vast agricultural processes continually increase in capability and importance.