Hay and Straw Pose Major Fire Risks to Barns

Posted July 26, 2017 by Administrator

Most individuals look for water to put out a fire, but hay and straw are the exceptions to this rule. When hay and straw become too wet, they can increase in temperature and erupt into flames. While this is more common with hay than straw, the risk exists for both. This is because moisture causes the bacteria in hay and straw to release heat. If the bacteria dies, the bales will cool. However, if the bacteria gains a foothold, temperatures can soar over 175 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Store Wet Bales

Farmers should store their wet bales outdoors or in a large, open area. In addition, farmers should not stack wet bales as this prevents heat and moisture from leaving. It is important to note that hay often goes through a sweat period in the initial days after baling. Temperatures can increase up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit without causing concern.

Most Common Fire Risks

Several factors influence the combustibility of hay and straw. For example, hay is most like to catch on fire during the first six weeks after baling. Other factors include:

  • Fields with wet spots
  • Moisture levels exceeding 20%
  • Bales containing more than 20% of hay preservative

How to Monitor Wet Bales

Farmers with at-risk bales of hay or straw need to keep a close watch to avoid fires. They should check the bales two times per day for the first six weeks after baling or until temperatures return to stable levels. To obtain a proper temperature reading, farmers should probe the center of the bale or at least eight feet down into oversized bales.

Determining Critical Temperatures

Below is a list of temperatures and the necessary actions farmers should take to avoid a fire.

  • <125°–No immediate action
  • 150°–This is approaching the fire hazard zone. Monitor twice per day. Farmers can take bales apart to promote airflow.
  • 160°–This is the point of a fire hazard. Farmers should check bales every two hours and take bales apart. Farmers should recruit the fire department before unstacking additional bales.
  • 175°–Bales are likely to have hot pockets at this temperature. Farmers should inform the fire department of a potential incident. Farmers can also create a tight seal on barn doors to remove oxygen.
  • 190°–Farmers need the assistance of the fire department to remove overheated bales at these temperatures. Bales may burst into flame so farmers should wet down tractors.
  • >200°–A fire is likely at this temperature. In addition to the precautions above, farmers should have fire hose lines ready to go.

While taking preventative measures is key to avoiding barn fires, they can still happen. Farmers need to invest in insurance to protect their assets in the event of a barn fire. As a leading provider of agribusiness insurance, Cline Wood can help farmers identify and manage fire risks as well as discuss their insurance needs. Contact us to learn more.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

What Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Need to Know about Diesel Exhaust Fluid

Posted July 19, 2017 by Administrator

In 2007, semi truck and engine manufacturers began installing DEF fuel tanks in order to meet federal emissions regulations that went into effect in 2010. The new technology, called selective catalytic reduction (SCR), is an aftertreatment that is injected in small amounts into a diesel engine’s exhaust stream. DEF stands for Diesel Exhaust Fluid. The exhaust stream, which is hot, vaporizes the DEF to form ammonia and carbon dioxide, which is passed over a catalyst and converted into nitrogen and water, which is harmless.

DEF is kept in a separate reservoir tank. DEF is composed of 32.5% high-purity urea and water. Urea is a compound of organic nitrogen that is used commonly in agriculture for fertilizer.

The SCR technology not only reduces pollution, but also saves on fuel. Since the engine no longer has to be tuned to reduce the toxic NOx, it can be adjusted for better fuel economy.

The fuel tank on your truck that has the blue cap is called the DEF fuel tank. When you remove the blue cap, you will notice there is a smaller opening than what’s on the diesel fuel tank. If at all possible, when you go into the commercial card lock or the truck stop try to get bulk DEF fuel. You don’t want to have to deal with the small jugs or containers. The smaller jugs require a funnel and are not as convenient as purchasing it in bulk. Some truck stops will only carry it in the smaller containers, but if at all possible it is best to purchase in bulk.

Once full, a DEF fuel tank will last for about six fills on diesel fuel. So you don’t have to fill it every time you refuel. Just make sure you check it regularly to ensure you don’t get stuck and end up having to use the messy jug system.

There are two fuel gauges on the dash of your rig. One is for the diesel fuel and the other one is for the DEF tank. Keep an eye on your dash gauges so you don’t run into a situation where you get too low.

The biggest concern when it comes to storing DEF is the possibility of contamination. Although DEF is non-toxic, non-polluting and non-flammable, it has to be kept in a plastic container to avoid corrosion. It also has to be kept in a temperature-controlled location and out of direct sunlight. It can be kept for years when stored properly.

If you need to store DEF, here are a few tips to safeguard it from contamination.

  1. Do not refill previously used containers.
  2. Be sure to insert the DEF nozzle into the tank’s inlet to avoid contaminating the spout.
  3. Use only dedicated DEF equipment for storing and dispensing. Do not use funnels or containers that have been used for other purposes.
  4. Do NOT use tap water if you need to rinse the fueling equipment. You must use de-mineralized water.
  5. Keep DEF away from substances such as oil, grease, water, dust, fuel, dirt, metal or detergent.

Diesel engines and systems operate better using SCR technology and fleets appreciate the fuel cost savings the DEF system offers. Cline Wood represents top trucking insurance carriers across the U.S. To learn more about the issues that concern commercial truck companies today, trucking coverage and risk management, contact us.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Farm Safety: Identifying Hazards and Managing Risk

Posted July 12, 2017 by Administrator

Investing in insurance is a necessary precaution for farmers. But farmers can take additional steps to protect their investment. For example, avoiding accidents can help minimize injuries and reduce claims. Farmers need to be aware of common hazards, implement safety measures, and train workers to recognize potential threats. While all farms are different, below are some of the most common risks farmers face.

  • Pesticides and herbicides are commonplace on farms. However, failure to use these chemicals with proper precaution can result in burns, respiratory distress, and poisoning.
  • Animals on a farm can inflict several types of injuries. These include crushing, trampling, biting, kicking, and more. Animals can transfer diseases to humans as well such as giardia and ringworm.
  • Any machine with unprotected moving parts can cause injuries. Examples include chain saws and tractors without roll over protection structures (ROPS).
  • Small spaces. Enclosed, tight spaces pose suffocation and poisoning risks. Silos and manure pits, for example, can trap toxic vapors.
  • Drowning is a very real risk on farms. This is especially true for young children in particular. Any body of water, natural or manmade, poses a risk.
  • While most farmers consider weather to be a hazard to their crops, it can also deal out damage to humans as well. Exposure to the elements can result in sunburns, dehydration, hypothermia, and more.

Farmers can take several steps to reduce these risks. Performing regular visual assessments of the farm can help farmers identify potential hazards. Educating all farmhands on risks and best safety practices can reduce injuries. Storing dangerous equipment in a safe location as well as performing regular maintenance on machinery can prevent injuries as well.

As the leading provider of agribusiness insurance, Cline Wood can help farmers identify risks and improve safety. To learn more about farming safety, contact Cline Wood.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Webinar: Legal Implications of Electronic Logging Device Implementation and Compliance

Posted July 5, 2017 by Administrator

Join Cline Wood University and Roberts Perryman as we discuss the specifications and legal implications of electronic logging device (ELD) implementation and compliance. Subject matter expert Jason Guerra will address the impact on your trucking business. Topics include:

* The Law, Rules & Deadlines
* Compliance: Supporting Documentation and Technical Specs
* Implementation Issues & Considerations
* Exemptions Regarding Short Haul, Towing, Older Models
* Extension for Use of AOBRDs
* Avoiding Pitfalls

Date & Time: Wed, Jul 12, 2017 12:00 PM – 12:30 PM CDT

To Join: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3771330763710693123

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

How to Prepare Your Drivers for a DOT Motor Vehicle Audit

Posted June 27, 2017 by Administrator

The Department of Transportation (DOT) regularly conducts motor vehicle audits to ensure that carriers are in compliance with applicable regulations. Audits are conducted without prior notice. The types of audits that are conducted include the following:

  • Compliance Review

Checks the vehicle to determine if the equipment meets safety standards. All areas of compliance are covered.

  • Security Review

Reviews the safety plan, training of the driver and other security-related measures.

  • Hazardous Materials Reviews

Comprehensive review that covers all aspects of transporting hazardous materials, such as policies, training, shipping documentation and labeling of containers.

  • New Driver Entrants

Within 3-6 months of the issuance of a USDOT number, a new driver safety audit will be conducted.

Paying attention to details and maintaining thorough records are important keys to passing the audit. It is imperative that you keep a copy of the DOT Compliance Checklist, Level 1 DOT Commercial Vehicle Inspection as well as a current North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria publication issued by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance on board your rigs so that drivers can refer to them as needed.

Here are 4 tips to help your company fleet stay in compliance and be prepared for a DOT audit.

  1. Talk with your drivers

As a fleet owner, it is vitally important for you to build rapport with your drivers so that there is a trust relationship. If you perceive the driver is making mistakes, you need to understand why the mistakes are happening and have enough of a relationship for there to be honest dialog with the goal of resolving the issues. Your drivers are the life of your business; they are the people that move your loads. They will be the ones that either make or break your business.

The inspection officer will begin the audit by interviewing the driver. During the interview, the officer will be inspecting the interior of the cab to ensure the cab and dash instruments are in good repair. The officer will also be looking for evidence of drug and/or alcohol usage during the cab inspection.

  1. Make Sure Your Equipment is in Good Repair

Use the Level 1 DOT Commercial Vehicle Inspection Checklist to determine if your vehicle is in compliance. Pay careful attention to the seat belts, windshield wipers, emergency lights, brake lights, lighting devices of all types, emergency exits, electrical cables, braking systems, fuel systems, exhaust systems, electrical cables, etc.

  1. Keep Your Paperwork and Logs Organized and Up-to-Date

It’s vitally important that your driver’s record keeping is organized and current so that he or she can easily demonstrate to an inspector that everything is in order. Make sure they know where their fire extinguisher and triangles are, and their documents are in order. Make sure they keep their information in a place that is easy to access and that everything is complete.

  1. The Attitude of the Driver is Important

Help your drivers understand how to maintain a respectful, cooperative attitude. If a driver is argumentative, sullen or uncooperative, the inspector is likely to demand a Level 1 Inspection. A driver with a cooperative, positive attitude will have a smoother experience and the inspection will go much quicker.

Your drivers should expect an inspection at any time. Work with them to help them understand the importance of passing their inspections, and support them in developing the systems they need to keep things organized and up-to-date. Maintain a positive relationship with them and model courtesy, respect and a professional attitude at all times.

Following these general guidelines will help your drivers pass their DOT inspections in a timely, efficient manner, helping them get back on the job working for your company.

Cline Wood represents top trucking insurance carriers across the country. To learn more about the issues that concern commercial truck companies today, trucking coverage and risk management, contact us.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls

Posted June 26, 2017 by Erin

Sometimes all it takes is one time slipping on a wet surface to cause a debilitating injury to a worker’s back, a broken bone, or worse.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 800 work-related fatalities and over 300,000 total work-related injuries due to slips, trips and falls in 2015.[1]

Once an injury occurs, a worker is typically unable to work for an extended period of time, potentially meaning less income.  There could also be significant medical expenses and decreased ability to conduct your normal daily activities, making it difficult to take care of your loved ones.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

    1. ONLY WEAR STURDY, WATERPROOF WORK BOOTS
      This helps keep your feet dry and prevents them from slipping off most surfaces.  NO flip flops, slides, or sandals.
    2. MAKE SURE YOUR WORK BOOTS HAVE GOOD NON-SLIP TREAD
      This helps give you good traction in adverse weather conditions and prevents slips/falls.  If your work boots are old, chances are good the tread is worn down and it’s time for a new pair.
    3. MAKE SURE YOUR WORK BOOTS HAVE A STEEL SAFETY TOE
      This helps prevent injuries from bumps or items accidentally dropped on your foot.
    4. REVIEW YOUR SURROUNDINGS
      Look around you to see if there are any potential hazards, like potholes, water/snow on the ground, etc.
    5. USE THREE POINTS OF CONTACT
      When getting in or getting out of your truck or trailer, make sure you have either two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand making contact with the truck the whole time.  This helps ensure stability.

     

    If you follow these basic guidelines you will drastically reduce the chance of a slip, trip or fall type of accident.  Your employer and your family will also appreciate your efforts to work safer and come home happy and healthy at the end of the workday.

    If you should have any questions regarding the information above or would like to discuss other safety topics, please don’t hesitate to contact Cline Wood at 888-451-3900 or safetrucking@clinewood.com.

    [1] Sources: https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/4836-fatal-work-injuries-in-the-united-states-during-2015.htm; https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh2.pdf


    This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Technical Highlight: How Differentials and Differential Locks Work on Commercial Trucks

Posted June 20, 2017 by Administrator

What does a differential do and how does the differential lock work on big trucks? A differential is a part of the rear axle. The differential is the axle that provides power to the unit and moves it forward whether it’s a passenger vehicle, a big truck or a bus. Most passenger vehicles today are front-wheel drive so they will not have a differential; semi-truck tractors are rear-wheel drive and therefore do have differentials.

The root word of “differential” is “difference.” Basically, a differential allows the vehicle to have different speeds for each wheel that is attached to the rear axle. The purpose of having different speeds is so that when you turn a corner the outside wheel needs to accelerate at a faster rate than the inside wheel. The inside wheel is functionally “fixed” and goes at a much slower rate than the outside wheel. The wheels need to be able to turn at different speeds; thus, you have a differential.

When you have a differential you will have gears that will allow one wheel to effectively have free play and the other one to accelerate faster. Sometimes a truck will get “stuck”;  when that happens the differential will direct power out to the wheel with the least resistance. Therefore, one wheel will spin if you get stuck (like in a large mud puddle) unless you have the differential lock (diff lock) engaged.

Big rigs have what’s known as a diff lock that helps with traction and driving at slow speeds. On the back of a big truck you will usually have two axles called a set of tandem axles. Both axles in the set of tandem axles have a differential unit on them. On most trucks you will have a single diff lock that will lock up the front axle in the set so all 8 tires in the set will turn in tandem. If you are driving in snowy conditions it is recommended that you put chains on the wheels in the front because that is where the differential (diff) lock is located. When you put a chain on each wheel it will drive the vehicle forward.

Some of the Western Star Trucks will have a diff lock for each axle with two switches on the dashboard of the cab, one for each axle. There will also be an inter-axle diff lock that will lock the axle across each set of tandem axles and will lock in between both sets so all four sets of tires on the back of the semi truck will rotate at the same rate. When the diff lock is on there will not be differential speeds.

It’s important that you do not leave the diff lock on while driving at highway speeds. If you do happen to forget and leave the diff lock on while driving you will possibly wear the tires out faster. One thing to keep in mind is that you should stop the truck or travel at a very slow speed in a straight line when you engage and disengage the diff lock. You do not want to lock the differential gears up while the truck is at speed or turning and the wheels are at different speeds or you are likely to cause damage to the gears.

Cline Wood represents top trucking insurance carriers across the country. We have access to all types of insurance programs. We treat your company as if it were our own. Contact us today to find out how we can help you manage your risk, which directly contributes to your bottom line.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Scopelitis June Legislative Trends Newsletter

Posted June 14, 2017 by Erin

Cline Wood works closely with Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary (The Scopelitis Law Firm), a leading Transportation industry law firm. They have been a valuable resource to many of our customers because of their understanding and involvement in the transportation industry.

The Scopelitis Law Firm recognizes that, in order to prepare for potential risks and strategic opportunities, businesses of all sizes must stay informed regarding regulatory and legislative change. This newsletter includes a sampling of noteworthy developments or trends affecting transportation in Congress or the state legislatures during the last two months.

Trends covered in the Scopelitis June Legislative Trends Newsletter include:

  • Scopelitis Law Alert: U.S. DOL Announces Withdrawal of Joint Employment, Independent Contractor Informal Guidance
  • States Seek Infrastructure Funding
  • Lowering Roadblocks to Platooning
  • States React to Gig Economy
  • FY 2018 Presidential Budget
  • DOT Personnel Changes
  • Regulatory Reform
  • Tax Reform
  • FMCSA Withdraws Minimum Insurance Limits Rulemaking
  • Entry-Level Driver Training Rule
  • FMCSA Split-Sleeper Berth Pilot
  • Rescission of USDOL Persuader Rule Submitted to OMB

Find the full version of the newsletter by clicking here. For any additional information on their Firm, please follow Scopelitis on social media, visit their Legislative Services Practice Area page, or contact the Scopelitis legislative team – Greg Feary, Shannon Cohen, or Prasad Sharma – to further explore how they may provide the most well-tailored service for you.


The Scopelitis Legislative Trends Newsletter is intended as a report to clients and friends on legislative developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

 

Are Your Drivers Employees or Independent Contractors?

Posted June 13, 2017 by Administrator

In recent years, federal and state entities have engaged in an effort to reclassify independent contractors for motor carriers as employees. Sometimes authorities will conduct preemptive audits on the Department of Labor (DOL) compliance status to determine if companies are in compliance with federal and state labor laws as they apply to worker classification.

In order to ensure your company is in compliance, there are important tests that need to be adhered to when it comes to independent contractors versus employee status. Important tests to know are:

  1. The right to control

The overarching test of the right to control is whether or not the owner-operator controls the manner and means of completing the work. The one caveat to this test is when the control is originating from rules or regulations imposed by the Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or other entity that governs the trucking industry. External regulatory controls are seen as mutual between the company and the owner-operator and therefore are not a determining factor in whether an individual is an employee or independent contractor.

  1. ABC

The ABC test refers to three parts, listed as “A”, “B”, and “C.” In this test, the DOL has taken the position that most workers in the U.S. are employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA.) The one primary exception to this is if the owner-operator operates under the authority of multiple carriers.

  1. 3. Relative nature of the work

The nature of the work helps to define the relationship. If the work is considered integral to the business, it is more likely that the worker is an employee. Work that is temporary or non-integral may imply independent contractor status.

  1. Economic realities

The economic realities test is something that has been devised by some courts and federal agencies to help businesses determine the differences between an employee and independent contractors. Basically, the economic realities test considers how dependent or independent the worker is on the business. If a person gains a large part of their income from one business then they are likely an employee. Other factors to consider are level of skill, nature of the work, intent of the parties and social security taxes and benefits.

  1. IRS “20 Factor”

Tax liability is determined by the workers’ employment status. In order to help businesses determine whether a worker should be classified as an employee or independent contractor the IRS has devised twenty questions or factors called the “IRS 20 Factor Test on Employment Status.”

It’s critical that motor carriers and owner-operators understand the differences and legal implications of operating as an employee versus an independent contractor. While it may seem attractive to call your drivers owner-operators or independent contractors, it is vitally important that the tests for independent contractors are met if the driver is considered an owner-operator.

An important factor to consider is the right for an individual to sue the company should the driver be involved in an accident. If the driver meets the employee test, damages can be collected from the trucking company. If the driver can be classified as an independent contractor, then the other party in an accident is limited to the amount of damages they can recover from the contractor. The law does not accept the word of an employer in such a matter; the aforementioned tests will be taken into consideration in determining who is liable in the event of an accident.

To learn more about the issues that concern truck drivers today, trucking coverage and risk management, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Smart Agriculture and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Posted June 5, 2017 by Administrator

With the combination of both advanced technologies in hardware and software, the Internet of Things (IoT) is able to track and count almost everything, which can greatly reduce waste, cost and loss for agriculture operations. The IoT will transform the agriculture industry by enabling farmers to find solutions to their challenges faster and more effectively. Innovative applications can be designed to address complex issues and therefore increase the quality, quantity, sustainability and effectiveness of crop production.

Here are some breakthrough examples where agricultural businesses are using the IoT in innovative ways:

  • A cutting-edge greenhouse operation uses the Waspmote Plug and Sense IoT Vertical Kit air quality application. Sensor probes are installed a various points to measure identified parameters. The system is programmed and connected to an XBee network with star topology. Two of the sensor modes send the extracted data to the central node at 15 minute intervals. The data is sent via 3G to a server and stored in an internal memory. The information is then visualized through its web interface. Users can take action by controlling the irrigation system through the web.
  • A farming operation is using the IoT to address its labor shortage. Limited by time, the farmers are unable to monitor and provide the required conditions for plants at certain times such as during the night or emergency conditions. To overcome the limitations of the irrigation system in conventional farming and maintain the crops in their optimum environment for growth in terms of soil moisture and temperature. The model of smart irrigation provides and maintains the optimum conditions for their crops. By growing their crops in an environment with sufficient water supply and ideal temperature, plant quality is improved and the productivity of the field is increased as well. Using electronic devices such as smartphones and remote computers, users can log into the Cloud storage to extract sensor data. Users can monitor the crops and control the water pumps and fans using the control panel of the user interface, which does not have to be located at the farm. Also, being able to supply the water directly to the root of the plant prevents weeds from growing, reducing the need for farm hands to help with weeding. Soil temperature also plays a major role in plant health. Being able to use sensors to measure the soil temperature and remotely switch on fans that will reduce overly heated soil will help keep roots moist and retain nutrients.
  • A small, urban farmer looking for a reliable, innovative solution worked with an IoT platform partner to develop a modular, scalable farm operation. Together, they designed a hydroponic farming model that operates inside of an atmospherically-controlled shipping container that allows for year-round growing to provide local, urban environments with produce 365 days a year. They use a connected product management tool to provide more usability and access in how they interact with the farm. A big advantage of the connectivity platform is in the data collection that indicates how well the freight farms are performing, including optimal conditions, various crops and best practices. The data is being used to help farmers proactively prevent problems and troubleshoot to improve quality control.

By providing and maintaining the ideal environment for the growth of crops using innovative applications of IoT, the productivity of crops can be increased and the goal of ensuring adequate food supplies to feed the estimated human population of 9 billion people by the year 2050 will be achieved.

 

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Copyright © 2017 Cline Wood.