Managing a hog or poultry farm is no easy task. Barns are smelly and its hard work choring the site every day making sure the animals have fresh feed and water and treating any sick ones. Livestock farms are also increasingly isolated to keep them away from city folk who can’t stand the smell and create buffers between other farms to minimize spread of disease.
All this means farmers need automation and quick access to data to manage their barns. They rely on sensors and controllers to manage and monitor their livestock. But the controllers typically store data locally and alerting systems are very inflexible, making it difficult to manage remote farms efficiently.
Farms are tough places to put sensors – there are a lot of moisture and dust as well as nasty gases like ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. Even the better sensors inevitably fail and need to be replaced frequently. Because these sensors are connected to a local controller, failures are often not noticed for a long time. Farm workers don’t have time to do diagnostics or collect data while they are on site. What’s needed is a simple way to connect controllers and smart sensors to the cloud so that data can be viewed and analyzed from any internet-enabled device.
Feedlogic Corporation and Farm Tech Store have developed two systems to make this possible:
- A small wireless adapter which easily connects any existing controller or sensor network to the cloud so that data can be harvested in real time and alerts automatically sent when something is wrong. The adapter attaches to the common RS232 or RS485 outputs of the controller and transmits the data to a wireless hub using a ZigBee protocol. This approach allows multiple controllers and sensor gateways at one farm to communicate with a single hub.
- Virtual sensors – apps which run on any Android/IOS smart phone or connected device and allow rapid collection and reporting of farm data. The first of these apps is FarmStreams, downloadable from the Play Store and ITunes. FarmStreams allows farm workers to record things like mortalities, euthanizations, medications given, and marketing and immediately post it to the cloud. It replaces the current paper system which is prone to human error and does not get the data to the right people at the right time. FarmStreams is user-specific, so it remembers which farms the worker is managing and provides data selections in quick drop-down menus. This reduces the number of keystrokes needed and allows a user to enter data in less than 10 seconds.
Visit us for more information. www.FarmTechStore.com