The health and wellbeing of crops and livestock under a farmer’s care are two crucial elements when it comes to success in the agriculture sector. One of the most significant investments a farmer makes is in the specialist buildings for the farm. Greenhouses, stables and grain silos all provide a fundamental part of a farmer’s operations and any faults or damage to them can seriously impact the wellbeing of animals, the quality of the product and ultimately the revenues that a farm generates.
For Chris Salimans, a modern farmer in the country with several locations across the Netherlands, reliable monitoring and alarms on buildings to provide notification of any faults are critical in maintaining the welfare of his animals. However, while many alarm systems can be operated successfully over cellular services or land-lines, the remote locations of some of his farms, coupled with concerns over the reliability and performance of these networks, present challenges in consistently monitoring faults.
He explains: “We house livestock in controlled environments so it’s important to maintain these to ensure the well-being of animals is of the highest calibre. However, power outages for example from lightning strikes and consequent high temperatures can quickly present a dangerous situation. As a sector, it’s important to farm responsibly and we need to be doing everything within our power to prevent cases of animal suffocation. Therefore, confidence in remote monitoring and alarm systems is crucial and, as such, reliable technologies that provide immediate warnings are vital, especially for farms that are made up of dispersed and remote locations that can’t be reached by staff instantaneously.”
PinC Agro, a member of the Achmea Insurance Group, developed AgroAlarm®, a solution designed to ensure farmers are notified if anything happens to their buildings. The solution enables secure, reliable monitoring and alarm notifications for intensive farming. Every 60 seconds sensors installed in farm buildings send a status message to the central HQ where the solution is controlled. This ‘keep alive’ message notifies the system when something is wrong. If the signal is not received, an alert is sent to the farmer or a nominated contacts. If this alert is not acknowledged, the system will then alert electrical technicians or the relevant emergency services. However, reliability concerns of the analogue network being used prompted PinC Agro to consider alternative forms of connectivity and the company engaged with Network Innovations with a list of criteria for this.