WSN for Smart Crops

A Market Study

Published: Sept. 2008

54 (53 figures, 7 tables)

Table of Contents

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* Primary investigation
* Network simulations
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Facing a water shortage crisis and the demands of a global economy, farmers/growers are turning to wireless sensing solutions to save labor costs, increase yields, improve quality, and conserve water.  As drought conditions worsen in areas such as California and Australia along with soaring crop prices, vendors are barely keeping up with the demand.  The emergence of standards based short range radios, advanced network protocols, and the availability of low cost backhaul technologies, have made wireless sensing an affordable competitive advantage for farmers/growers. 

ON World's research with 36 viticulturalists/farmers found that more than half are current wireless sensor users and nearly a third are planning new wireless sensing applications over the next 18 months.  Based on a return on investment analysis, there is a global $76 billion total potential market for the top three crops most likely to benefit from wireless monitoring solutions.


Primary Research:

End Users
36 phone interviews with managers and executives of leading North American vineyards and farms

50+ WSN manufacturers, software providers, and component suppliers

Free Executive Summary:
Send us an email
"smart crops" in the subject.

Report Overview:

Market Opportunity

* WSN solutions include environmental monitoring, crop monitoring, irrigation management

* Drivers and inhibitors analysis for the following crop areas:

  • Fruits & Nuts
  • Vineyards
  • Vegetables
  • Grains/oilseeds
  • Nurseries/Floriculture

* Return on investment scenarios

5-Year Global Total Potential Market Sizing (2007-2012) by:

  • Acreage
  • Cumulative Units
  • Revenues

Technology Forces:

* Analysis on current WSN technologies including:

  • IEEE802.15.4
  • Mesh Networking
  • 6LoWPAN
  • Long range radios

Power/Performance Simulations:

Test results from ON World's wsnSimulator™:

One of the challenges that researchers and developers have with WSN is testing the enormous amount and variations of wireless sensing components and modules that make up a WSN node.  In order to better analyze the power and performance needs of individual nodes in specific applications, ON World created the wsnSimulator™.  This simulator interchanges WSN node hardware components, payloads, processors, sensors, harvesters, and batteries while factoring in unique operational parameters for each of the fore mentioned parts. 

The wsnSimulator™ runs these virtual hardware nodes within one of several WSN networks such as CSMA, TDMA, Sampled Listening, ZigBee, and WiFi.  The wsnSimulator™ factors in neighborhood nodes and overlapping networks to analyze transmission collisions, latency, and dropped packets among other network factors. With this tool we have the capability of simulating advanced multi thousand node WSN deployments as well as single node controllers, gateways and end nodes.

In this report, our simulations tests included the following:

  • Radios/protocols: ZigBee; IEEE802.15.4 with Xmesh, TSMP, and Sampled Listening
  • Battery Life
  • Required battery size
  • Required energy harvesters
  • Effect of crop obstructions on range

Market Leaders & Innovators

*In-depth profiles on 7 companies: Adcon Telemetry, Crossbow, Grape Networks, Netafim, PureSense, Ranch Systems, SensorWare Systems

Survey Results

* 24 charts from current end user interviews on current technology adoption, applications, future adoption intensions, drivers and inhibitors



Primary Research:

The growers/farmers we interviewed for this report include the following:

Adelsheim Vineyards
Beam Wine Estates
Beckstoffer Vineyards
Benton Lane Winery
Bloom Ranch
Cain Vineyard & Winery
Camalie Vineyard
Clark Angus Ranch
Clos Pegase Winery
Earthbound Farms
Ewetopia Farms
Flowers Vineyard and Winery
Frieders Farm
Grant Farms
Green Meadow Farms, Inc.
J Lohr Vineyards
Kunde Estate Winery
Langtry Estate & Vineyards
Napa Wine Co
Premier Pacific Vineyards
Quivira Vineyards & Winery
Rex Hill Vineyards & Winery
Sagemoore Vineyards
Sallaska Farms
Scheid Vineyards
Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery
Sevenhills Vineyard
Shoal Creek Farm
Spring Mountain Vineyard
Sullivan Vineyards
Swanson Vineyards
Tablas Creek Vineyard
Trinchero Family Estates
Wheat Montana Farms
Witness Tree Vineyard


Technology Companies:

Profiled companies include Adcon Telemetry, Crossbow, Grape Networks, Netafim, PureSense,
Ranch Systems

Additional vendors and supplies mentioned in this report include the following: Arch Rock, Dust Networks, Ember, Jennic, Nivis, Sensinode, Sentilla, Texas Instruments


Table of Contents

Executive Summary

The Market Opportunity
WSN Solutions
Climate Monitoring
Irrigation Management
Crop Monitoring
Return on Investment Analysis
Crops by Acreage
Production Values by Crop
Total Potential Market Size
Global Totals (Selected Crops)
Early Adopting Crops
Market Forces
Market Sizing
Fruits & Nuts
Market Forces
Market Sizing
Market Sizing
Market Forces
Market Sizing

Technology Forces
Wireless Sensor Networking
System Components
Network Protocols
Mesh Networking
Next Generation Software
IP Sensor Networks
Power Management
Power/Performance Simulations

Market Leaders & Innovators
Adcon Telemetry
Grape Networks
Ranch Systems

Survey Results
Information Technology Trends
Wireless Sensor Adoption Trends
Market Drivers & Inhibitors
Surveyed Companies

List of Figures

Figure 1: 2007 Acreage by Crop Type (US)
Figure 2: 2007 Production Values by Crop Type (US)
Figure 3: 2007 Annual Production Values per Acre (US)
Figure 4: Return on Investment per Acre by Select Crops (2007-2017)
Figure 5: Global Total Potential WSN Units (2007-2012)
Figure 6: Early Adopting Crops – Global Total Potential WSN Units (2007-2012)
Figure 7: Early Adopting Crops – Total Potential WSN Revenues by Crop (2007-2012)
Figure 8: Vineyards – Wireless Sensor Nodes Deployed
Figure 9: Top Ten Wine Producing Nations Worldwide
Figure 10: Vineyards - Harvestable Acres, US & Global (2007-2012)
Figure 11: Vineyards – Total Potential WSN Units (2007-2012)
Figure 12: Fruits & Nuts - Harvestable Acres, US & Global (2007-2012)
Figure 13: Fruits & Nuts – Total Potential WSN Units (2007-2012)
Figure 14: Nursery/Floriculture - Harvestable Acres, US & Global (2007-2012)
Figure 15: Nursery/Floriculture – Total Potential WSN Units (2007-2012)
Figure 16: Wireless Crop Monitoring Components
Figure 17: End Node Average Power Breakdown
Figure 18: Router Average Power Breakdown
Figure 19: End Node Life using 3-AA Batteries
Figure 20: Controller Life using 3-AA Batteries
Figure 21: Crop Obstructions Effect on Range - Mesh Network
Figure 22: Maximum Theoretical Acres per Node deployed – Mesh Network
Figure 23: Solar Energy Harvester Size for Router – Mesh Network
Figure 24: Solar Energy Harvester Size for End Nodes – Mesh Network
Figure 25: Controller Battery Life with Various Battery Sizes
Figure 26: End Node Battery Life with Various Battery Sizes
Figure 27: Crossbow’s wireless mesh sensor network
Figure 28: Grape Networks Wireless Sensor Node
Figure 29: Ranch Systems long range base radio
Figure 30: Types of Crops/Livestock
Figure 31: Respondent Facility Size (acres)
Figure 32: Respondent Job Position
Figure 33: Crops/Livestock Labor Frequency
Figure 34: Labor Cost per Measurement
Figure 35: Current Process/Networking Technologies Used
Figure 36: Sensors Used
Figure 37: Number of Sensors (Wired/Wireless) Installed
Figure 38: Installed Sensors Location
Figure 39: Current Sensor Applications
Figure 40: Types of Sensors Installed
Figure 41: Wireless Sensors Currently Deployed
Figure 42: Current Wireless Sensor Applications
Figure 43: Radios/Protocols Used
Figure 44: Standards Level of Importance
Figure 45: End Node Power Sources by Percentage
Figure 46: Gateway/Controller Power Sources by Percentage
Figure 47: Plans for New Wireless Sensor Applications
Figure 48: Planned Wireless Sensor Applications
Figure 49: Wireless Sensing Drivers
Figure 50: Wireless Sensor Inhibitors
Figure 51: Wireless Sensor Adoption Considerations
Figure 52: Most Likely Wireless Applications
Figure 53: Five Year Wireless Pen Rate

List of Tables

Table 1: Global Total Potential WSN Units (2007-2012)
Table 2: Early Adopting Crops – Global Total Potential WSN Units (2007-2012)
Table 3: Early Adopting Crops – Total Potential WSN Revenues by Crop (2007-2012)
Table 4: Vineyards – Total Potential WSN Units (2007-2012) (2007-2012)
Table 5: Fruits & Nuts – Total Potential WSN Units (2007-2012)
Table 6: Nursery/Floriculture – Total Potential WSN Units (2007-2012)
Table 7: Wireless Smart Crop Vendors Compared

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