Leti has announced a new European Commission smart-farming project that will deliver real-time data on soil conditions. Deployed via small, private Internet of Things networks, the SARMENTI sensor node will provide farmers with the next generation of a reagent-free sensor platform to monitor in real-time soil nutrient concentration and measure local environmental conditions, especially emission of ammonia and greenhouse gases.
“Demand for sustainably produced food is driving current strategies in the intensification of the agricultural sector worldwide. To meet these challenges farmers will need to adopt a whole-farm approach to resource efficiency,” said Suzanne Lesecq, CEA-Leti Director of Research. “Meanwhile, there is no commercial system that provides real-time, in-situ concentration of different nutrients in the soil, while monitoring gaseous emissions just above the soil.”
Agriculture globally is a major source of greenhouse gasses. As EU member states seek to hit emission targets set in the Paris Agreement, projects like SARMENTI will provide continuous data for their farmers to track emission of hazardous gases and monitor the proper decomposition of manure.
Current soil analyses are neither real-time nor in-situ, which limits the value of the results for farmers. SARMENTI-developed sensors will measure in-situ, high-temporal-resolution soil nutrient concentration that farmers can use to improve fertiliser management practises.
This will help reduce nitrogen losses to the environment due to inappropriate fertiliser application and to meet goals of the EU’s Nitrates Directive, which aims to protect water quality by preventing nitrates from agricultural sources from polluting ground and surface water.
In addition, low-cost monitoring of ammonia, methane and nitrous oxide emissions will help producers track the nitrogen cycle and reduce losses due to denitrification, as well as promote the proper decomposition of manure.
The architecture for the SARMENTI IoT node is made of three devices:
CEA-Leti is coordinating the three-year project and will provide expertise in electrochemical sensors. It also will provide the soil probe and cyber-security technology for the IoT. Other SARMENTI project participants include:
Three consortium members will represent farmers and other end users of the system: