We prove out agriculture technology on our 5th generation family farm. The farm spans over 30 miles from end to end and has rolling hills, small flats, and some large buttes. The farm proves the viability of anything from equipment to AI algorithms in real-world conditions. We partner with Microsoft Azure to roll out cloud and edge computing capabilities.
The connectivity on our farm has been constantly evolving. The diagram to the left is the connectivity as of now. Our connectivity is changing every few months to try new techniques or integrate new hardware.
We are able to get connectivity to our solar tower via Television Whitespace(TVWS) wide band radios, it works through inclement weather and allows for easy positioning of antennas to achieve strong signals. The wide band TVWS is able to provide broadband speeds and low power consumption. This is used in our operation to supply internet access to our TVWS IoT tower as well as other cameras located at the TVWS IoT tower. It even supplies internet access to virtual presentations from the field!
TVWS IoT is a narrow band TVWS application for low data needs such as weather stations, bin monitoring and other small IoT applications. Currently we are able to connect stations that are 8 miles away from our tower, but we should be able to hit 15 miles based off of previous trials on our farm.
Our TVWS IoT tower was built with cost effective PVC conduit. It allows for non-skilled labor to build rigid structures where the base is filled with sand to create a low center of gravity. The components were placed in battery boxes to allow for weather protection and ease of transport.
The TVWS IoT tower was built so it can be moved around the farm if needed. It can all fit in one pickup and be easily moved by 2 people. Total setup time when moving is only 15 minutes to plug in the batteries, solar, and ethernet cabling.
The TVWS IoT clients use our standard PVC builds. They allow for weighted bases that are easy to move for field operations. The main difference with our TVWS IoT stations is metal attached to the top for the TVWS antenna and the GPS antenna to allow for TVWS IoT location reporting.
We do a LOT of drone flights on our farm and Visage has been essential in stitching(combining) the raw photos into actionable panoramas.
We have used these panoramas in many ways:
Visage is a one click way to help this process. With one click it will stitch the drone images, associate the data with the field in FarmBeats. It allows for local viewing of stitched images to get the farmer in the field quicker. It can help get the data to plan out precision drone spraying missions.
The NCSU USDA Stress Cam is for monitoring fields in real-time. It allows us to see the field without having to drive everywhere and allows us to catch issues faster by reviewing images from the field multiple times in a day. It is solar powered and runs on cost effective raspberry pi hardware. We are working with NCSU to place this camera with the TVWS IoT connectivity present on the farm. Currently it connects via WiFi or wired ethernet.
WSU has deployed their multi-spectral crop camera on our farm to monitor the crop throughout the season. This data will help drive on farm insights in the future.
Our farm has hosted WSU Variety trials for many years. It is essential to keep up this research to ensure new varieties of wheat and barley are under constant development.