IT in Agriculture

Information and Communication Technology Approach for the ADMI Reduction of Postharvest Loss Project

The intent of this research work is to develop these methods through interdisciplinary collaboration to assist in the collection and analysis of postharvest loss (PHL) investigations and facilitate the research findings utilized to reduce the PHL of smallholder farmers (SHFs). These ICT methods are also intended to monitor and interact with the PHL reduction techniques and interventions being conducted with SHFs in specific villages.

During the first semester of the project, a plan for creating an information ecosystem was developed to aid in the intervention, adoption and collaboration of SHFs involved in the research being conducted during this project and those beyond this study as well. The goals behind the information and communication system, shown in the interaction of the blocks in the diagram below, is to provide a central place for the collection of information so it can be monitored, shared and acted upon. In addition, as the number of SHFs and villages in the efforts expand, the system can be used to automate routine functions and tasks, which are now being done by researchers and field investigators in person and by hand. In the future, the system could automatically use incoming information to make decisions and/or automate certain aspects using feedback control loops.

Major Elements and Interaction between Components of the Information Ecosystem

The primary components currently being developed for our ICT plan are the Smallholder Farmer Information and Advisory Portal, the In-The-Bag Sensors, the Sensor Data Collection Hub, and the Field Investigator Phone App, seen in the diagram above and further described below.

Other components in experimental stages are the following: computer vision methods to automatically classify visual qualities of grain, a quality test kit to standardize grain quality levels, and a solar changing system to support electronics where power is not available.

Wireless In-The-Bag Sensors

The In-The-Bag (ITB) Sensors will continuously collect temperature and humidity readings from inside individual grain bags undergoing storage. They were designed (in consultation with Prof …

Sensor Data Collection Hub

The Data Collection Hub receives the temperature and humidity data from multiple ITB Sensors in grain bags nearby (e.g., kept locally in a farmer home …

Field Investigator Grain Meter App

The Grain Meter App has three primary functions; the first function is to allow university researchers and field investigators to use their smartphones to set …