Using Data Loggers for Agricultural and Livestock Applications
Data loggers can be used for monitoring in a variety of agricultural applications including: planting and growing environments; livestock and incubation; and the storage and transportation of produce, feedstuffs and animals.
Robust and weatherproof data loggers can be left to monitor in diverse agricultural environments in wet, harsh, exposed and remote areas if required.
Tinytag data loggers are easy to use and are ideal for monitoring many agricultural and livestock processes as well as being used in research. The loggers can be left to record in different locations to build up profiles or used for long term monitoring.
Growing, Planting and Soil Conditions
Optimum growing conditions vary between plant species and varieties. Environmental monitoring will help build a profile of seasonal or short term conditions, and can be a key requirement for making informed decisions about planting and growing, therefore helping to optimise productivity and yield.
This can involve monitoring both ambient and soil temperature as well as longer term monitoring to help identify microclimate and weather patterns. This is especially important in identifying areas prone to frost which can have a serious impact on crop development, particularly in vineyards, where it is vital to grow vines most adapted to a site in order to maximise wine quality.
Temp/RH data loggers have a rugged and waterproof design for monitoring in harsh areas such as greenhouses and outside in exposed areas. If required, temperature data loggers can be located below ground level, and probes are available to monitor soil conditions at depth. Data loggers can also be used for weather monitoring, and to validate the performance of other recording equipment.
Monitoring can also help in the assessment of threats from pests and diseases. Analysis of conditions can help identify potential risks and spread, helping growers make informed decisions about implementing control measures and selecting particular varieties of plant which may have different resistance levels.
Data loggers to monitor rainfall patterns help to identify opportunities to reduce water consumption in order to meet the challenges of climate change and promote crop varieties that require less water.
The Tinytag range is used for monitoring many growing operations:
- Recording temperature and relative humidity during the restoration and planting of UK grasslands
- Assessing temperature fluctuations that affect tree planting and growing conditions
- Monitoring planting and growing conditions in vineyards
- Identifying risks for quality control and disease prevention during flower production
Livestock Rearing and Incubation
Livestock farmers work hard to ensure that animals are kept in the correct environment to promote stock wellbeing and reduce disease and losses. This may well include monitoring temperature and relative humidity, which can not only affect the physical comfort of the animals but can influence the spread of disease and pests.
Data loggers can be left to monitor livestock in areas exposed to the weather, damp, humidity and even the attentions of the animals themselves! Time consuming spot checks and disruption to the livestock is minimised with the loggers' ability to record over long periods.
Data loggers also monitor conditions for animal feedstuffs, which may well be affected by fluctuations in temperature and humidity, and they can also help ensure that EU and domestic legislation is adhered to for animals in transit.
Temperature and RH levels are particularly critical during incubation processes, where small variations can seriously adversely affect outcomes and may result in substantial losses in terms of stock and costs.
In incubation facilities, Tinytags are an effective solution as they are able to record small changes in temperature and humidity, and can show alarm warnings if these fall outside a user-defined range. Loggers can also help to validate the performance of critical environmental control equipment. Accompanying probes are available if the logger cannot be placed directly into the application.
There are fully submersible temperature data loggers suitable for aquaculture applications, such as fish farms and other water-based processes.
Storage and Transportation
Monitoring environmental conditions during storage and transportation of produce and plants is essential to ensure that they arrive at their destination in perfect condition. Consumers today rely on fresh fruit and vegetables being available throughout the year which can extend shipping and transit times and potentially affect quality.
Temperature monitoring for food products throughout the cold chain may be governed by specific regulations, including HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) controls, Food Hygiene Regulations and European Union QFF (quick-frozen foodstuffs) Regulations.
Both standalone Tinytag data loggers and the Radio Data Logging System provide an effective solution, ensuring conditions can be recorded, analysed and validated. Problems in the supply chain can be pinpointed and investigated. Small, lightweight loggers can be placed unobtrusively with goods and packaging, and units are available which as BS EN 12830 compliant to meet the requirements of European legislation for frozen and chilled foods storage and transportation.
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