Self-destructive RFID tags for Precision Agriculture and control of seeds circulation

Short description

Agriculture is a big business which has a huge impact on all aspects of modern life. The current trend is to increase the crop yield, reduce the use of fertilizers and reduce the expenditure of energy and water. The scientific advances in the field of genetically modified plants and application of the Precision farming technology are used nowadays to achieve it.

"Precision farming provides a new solution using a systems approach for today's agricultural issues such as the need to balance productivity with environmental concerns. It is based on advanced information technology. It includes describing and modeling variation in soils and plant species, and integrating agricultural practices to meet site-specific requirements. It aims at increased economic returns, as well as at reducing the energy input and the environmental impact of agriculture."

In many countries the use of GMOs is prohibited or severely restricted by law. The reasons can be:

  1. The lack of convincing information about the safety of GMO products.
  2. Lack of effective mechanisms for monitoring the seed circulation (the sort, the manufacturer of the sort, the sowing location, date etc.).
The introduction of self-destructive RFID tags - SD-RFID, as well as related IT infrastructure (scanners, network, software, etc.) will be able to solve these problems.
Self-destructive RFID tags for Precision Agriculture and control of seeds circulation
Self-destructive RFID tags for Precision Agriculture and control of seeds circulation

SD-RFID tag may have a form comparable to a small grain, and differ from an "ordinary" RFID tag by the fact that it is made of materials capable to self destruct under the influence of environmental factors (moisture, soil acidity, solar radiation, etc.). Also, these materials should not pose any threat to agricultural soil. They must be either chemically inert or beneficial to the soil.

The SD-RFID tags are to be used as follows:

Agrocorporation (such as Monsanto and others) mark all seeds made for the sale with a SD-RFID (by mixing or encapsulation) in compliance with a certain proportion (e.g. 1 SD-RFID tag for 500 seeds). The proportion is determined by the type of seeds, their conditions of use and other factors. The information about the seed type and the assigned SD-RFID tag code is stored in a publicly available database.

In the process of transporting, buying, selling, planting, at each of these stages it is possible to monitor compliance with the claimed seed sort with the help of a simple RFID scanner.

At the time of sowing SD-RFID tags, along with seeds fall into the soil. This helps increase the effectiveness of Precision farming, making this technology more accessible and cheaper, by simplifying navigation of processing equipment and the possibility of obtaining timely and accurate information on soil conditions (the need to apply fertilizer, humidity, temperature etc.).

The material, which the SD-RFID tags are made of, has a lifetime no longer than the harvest time. This allows sowing the newly harvested field again, with new seeds with new SD-RFID tags. There will be no conflict because the "old" SD-RFID tags will destruct themselves.

SD-RFID tags can be of different types: providing navigation for agricultural equipment, determining the level of soil moisture, determining the level of nitrates, etc. There is a simple method to achieve these functions – by selecting the material for SD-RFID tags.

For example:

The material of a SD-RFID tag is easily destroyed at a high level of nitrates in the soil. Thus, by simple scanning we can quickly obtain information about the need of a certain portion of soil nitrate fertilizers. If there is no response from the SD-RFID tags (they are destroyed) the level of nitrates is sufficient. This knowledge saves fertilizers, energy and money.

Summary. This technology will:

  1. allow to control the circulation of seeds, their quality, sorts, makes it easy to detect forgery.
  2. help reduce the error probability in the use of seeds (GMO seeds are sown on one field, the "normal" ones - on another).
  3. allow (if necessary) a centralized agricultur policy (to control who and what and where to sow. Whether it is possible to sow this crop in this area; whether you can use these seeds at all).
  4. give an opportunity to control the use of GMOs in accordance with legal regulations in the countries, territories etc.
  5. allow to protect intellectual property rights on new sorts.
  6. make the Precision farming technology more accessible for use. The navigation of agricultural machinery will be simplified. The information about the state of the soil at any point of the field is always available. As a result the need for fertilizer, water and energy is reduced.
  7. allow to sow different crops at the same area (field) at the same time. Their symbiotic relationship will allow them to grow better and produce a greater yield, and the use of SD-RFID will automate the process of sowing, care, watering and harvesting.
  8. Fields don't always have a correct geometric form. In addition, the field can be divided into many sections belonging to different owners. Using SD-RFID tags will help automate sowing, fertilizing and harvesting in areas of any shape in accordance with the crops that grow there and the interests of landowners.
Cisco may invest in this idea; produce SD-RFID tags, scanners, sensors, positioning devices for Precision farming, accounting and control information system. This is a new product, new unlimited market, and new opportunities.
13 Comments
MAR
2010
14

 

Good thinking but do you really think that it will be a big investement in this SD-RFID tags, scanners, sensors, positioning devices for Precision farming, accounting and control information system?
Ali164 Ali164
MAR
2010
14

 

I think it's going to be a good investment. In my opinion the investment won't be too big, but the profit will be enormous.
http://pesennik.de Anna Gossen Anna Gossen
MAR
2010
15

 

I think there would be plenty of other good uses for SD-RFID tags as well. Oceanic and atmospheric studies. Any studies that need to observe flow/distribution paterns. There are lots of potential applications.
JohnBoyRox JohnBoyRox
MAR
2010
15

 

Yes, in fact SD-RFID can be used in a wider spectrum than I thought before. I think that Cisco could use this idea in the existing joint project with NASA "Planetary Skin" http://www.planetaryskin.org

With the help of SD-RFID it would be possible to measure remotely many parameters of climate, soil, ocean etc.
http://pesennik.de Anna Gossen Anna Gossen
MAR
2010
15

 

I agree. SD-RFID tags would also alleviate concerns with general inventory tracking, where privacy advocates may feel apprehensive about RFID tagged products being brought home. Do you think RFID tags could be created with a shorter lifetime for perhaps a product distrubution lifecycle?

I love your application of this technology to one of the oldest professional institutions though. Sometimes it seems we forget to make advancements where necessary, and anything that increases agricultural efficiency is definitely a plus.

Do you think you could add some graphics to better illustrate this?
MAR
2010
15

 

Thanks for the comment. It led me to the idea to use SD-RFID for determining the level of product freshness.

Sorry, I don't have time for drawing pictures at the moment. May be later.
http://pesennik.de Anna Gossen Anna Gossen
MAR
2010
15

 

Freshness! Thats brilliant, then if you have tags that decay at a predetermined rate, then a scanner or number of scanners can be used in say a fridge to determine when product needs to be replaced. These could even be affixed to the packaging of foodstuffs. Milk, dairy products, even fruit or meat.

I wonder what the mechanism for decay would be, if not chemical like the ones you described above.
MAR
2010
15

 

Is the self-destructive/RF reflective material already identified or will there be a materials development effort required?

I understood that GMO concerns were widely distributed. For instance, one of the concerns was that the pollen of GM plants fertilize adjacent fields of non GM plants. I am unclear about why you believe this one technology will clear the path.
Mappingthewhitespace Mappingthewhitespace
MAR
2010
16

 

Yes, it would require research to determine the spectrum of materials used for the production of SD-RFID. I don't think it will be difficult. Full guarantee of safety can only be given by analysis of the product directly before its use .

Let's be realistic. The ideal is not achievable, but we can get closer to it. Using SD-RFID to control GM seeds we can substantially reduce the erorr probability during transporting, sowing, harvesting.
http://pesennik.de Anna Gossen Anna Gossen
MAR
2010
16

 

Anna, I'm about to go all big-brother on you:

What if you had an RFID that decayed at a periodic rate equal to the number of years in a humans expected life expectancy? Lets aim high, what if you had a RFID tag with a 100 year life span. If a person were implanted with one at birth, you would always be able to tell their age based on the rate of decay. Restricting people entrance to places or objects by age would be a whole lot easier. Privacy advocates would hate this, but its an idea.
MAR
2010
16

 

I think we'd rather concentrate on products and agriculture at the moment..
http://pesennik.de Anna Gossen Anna Gossen
MAR
2010
16

 

That reminds me! I was thinking of how an RF scanner could exist in a refrigerator without a massive retrofit operation. So I was thinking of two options. One, the scanner exists above the fridge. Or two, inside the fridge, with a scanning element going around the perimeter of the fridge, connected to the light element.

Something like this:


Then the device could communicate wirelessly to some control device. What are your thoughts?
FEB
2012
19

 

I was tkhniing of placing the reader just at the edge of the screen, at one of the side, inside the tabletop. Normally that would enable the signal just to through as it should not cross the wood but the acrylic. However I will look for information on the wooden surface and look for some readers with a greater distance. But the distance can't be to large, otherwise we detect people passing by. Thanks for raising the point on the wood though!
Pradip Pradip
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