Revolutionizing Rice Farming with IoT AWD with KhawTECH

- 8 mins read

Everyone knows how important rice farming is for the livelihood of many farmers worldwide, but it is also a process that demands extensive water use and very intensive human effort. Traditional methods often result in excessive irrigation, leading to water waste, toxic gas creation and increased costs.

With the creation of KhawTECH, my AgTech Startup in Thailand, I believe that technology can offer a solution both socially and environmentally. KhawTECH’s IoT AWD (Alternate Wetting and Drying) project aims to introduce more intelligent and efficient farming practices to smallholder rice farmers in Thailand.

The Challenge

As an engineer, this is the best part. Traditional rice farming methods often involve continuous flooding, consuming lots of water. Although this technique is effective for crop yields, it is clearly unsustainable in the long term, specially when society is becoming more conscious about the environment. As water resources become more limited and costly, there is an urgent need for methods that reduce water usage without sacrificing productivity. Also, continuously flooding a field increases the risk of this becoming toxic and emitting large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere.

The most difficult part? AgTech is too expensive for humble farmers. But this is what I’m trying to change.

As a note, Thailand is the fourth-largest emitter of CO2 emissions from rice cultivation in the world accounting for about 60% of the total agricultural GHG emissions globally.

The Solution: Automated AWD with IoT, or AAWD

There is no challenge without a solution! Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) is a water management practice that allows rice fields to dry intermittently before re-flooding. This technique can dramatically cut water usage while maintaining, or even boosting, crop yields and soil quality. An increase in yield is usually linked to the soil’s ability to absorb zinc, nitrogen, and reuse organic nutrients.

To make AWD effective, precise water level monitoring and control are essential, which is where KhawTECH’s IoT platform is poised to excel.

Building the solution with easy-to-find materials is also essential. Coming up with a smart design that allows farmers to DIY the final solution is key in this process.

AI-made image of KhawTECH IoT AWD Tube
AI-made image of KhawTECH IoT AWD Tube

Current Progress

I’m developing a cutting-edge hardware for solving the above issues. With my programming and board-design backgrounds I try to ensure that the sensors and control systems are both robust and reliable. These devices are seamlessly integrated with a custom-built IoT platform, providing real-time data and control capabilities.

AAWD Tube Components

  • Ultrasonic Water Level Sensors: These sensors constantly monitor the water levels in the fields.
  • Capacitive Soil Moisture Sensors: Measure soil moisture content to determine the optimal timing for irrigation.
  • Solar Panel: Power the sensors, ensuring uninterrupted operation without the need for external power sources.
  • LoRaWAN & GSM 4G: Transmits sensor data to the KhawTECH platform in real-time, regardless of the field’s location.

How It Works

  • Data Collection: Sensors gather continuous data on water levels and soil moisture.
  • Data Transmission: The collected data is sent to the KhawTECH platform via LoRaWAN & GSM 4G.
  • Data Analysis: The platform processes the data in real-time, offering recommendations on irrigation timing.
  • Farmer Alerts: Farmers receive SMS notifications when it is time to irrigate based on the analysis.
  • Water Pump Activation: When needed, the actuators open the water pumps to flood the field to the required level.

Results So Far

So far, the AWD project has delivered impressive outcomes:

  • Water Savings: Participating farmers have seen up to a 30% reduction in water use compared to traditional methods.
  • Cost Efficiency: Reduced water usage lowers costs, making farming more profitable.
  • Sustainable Farming: Efficient water use promotes a healthy soil and reduces CO2 emissions. Win-win for everyone.

What Now?

Impressed by the results of this AWD project, I’m planning to extend the KhawTECH technology to more farms, as many local farmers expressed their interest on this. At the moment, I’m continually refining the platform to make it more user-friendly and resource-efficient, aiming to assist more farmers in increasing their yield while practising more sustainable practices.

Need More Information?

KhawTECH’s IoT AWD project showcases the transformative potential of technology in traditional farming. By implementing AWD with this IoT platform, I’m enabling humble farmers in Thailand to conserve water, reduce costs, and adopt more sustainable farming practices. All while providing them higher yields. Targeting food security is vital nowadays.

If you have any questions or require more information about KhawTECH’s IoT AWD technology, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Whether you’re interested in implementing this technology around your area or want to learn more about its advantages, I’m here to help.

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