UB Develops IoT Based Melon Cultivation System

UB Develops IoT Based Melon Cultivation System

Universitas Brawijaya (UB) developed a precision agriculture system based on the Internet of Thing for melon cultivation, with the name Drip Irrigation System, which is currently being applied to Melon Agro Techno Park, Jatikerto, Malang Regency, East Java.

The result innovation from Eka Maulana, S.T., M.T., M.Eng together with UB Tech and UB ATP team, developed a technology that uses a watering method with a drip system model which is controlled based on the water content of the growing media.

“Logically, when the soil is dry, the drip system is active. What is the water content in the media, when the drip system is active, data and information related to the mechanism are sent via IoT connection. In principle, only water with added nutrients has been applied,” said Eka, who is the team’s supervisor.

Eka explained that the system can not only be used for irrigation but can also be used for other detections including nutritional needs, lighting, temperature, and humidity of melon garden green house.

“In the process, the drip irrigation system works according to the nutritional needs of each plant to be irrigated. So it’s not just from how much its irrigates the plants, but according to the age of the plants. The control of this system is monitored in terms of time and data variables that have been recorded properly,” said Eka, who also serves as one of the lecturers.

Manager of Agriculture and ATP Development, Suyadi, SP., MP said the process of providing nutrients through water that is flowed into the media on plants periodically is given according to the needs of the plant.

“It can be done as much as 5 to 10 times in a day. So with that technology, we don’t need to manually provide the nutrition. We can leave it to do the other work, because it will automatically turn on the drip machine and flow nutrients to the planting media according to the plant’s needs,” said Suyadi

Suyadi admitted that IoT makes work easier since the machine will automatically turn on when the planting media already needs nutrients.

“So there is no nutritional deficiency. Because if we do it manually, we still use our instincts when plants need nutrients,” he said.

The application of the drip system turned out to give maximum results on melon plants.

“The fruit yields can be better and ideal, because the availability of nutrients is stable. Because if the nutrition is unstable, the growth of melon is not optimal, the fruit can break or the sweetness level will be low,” he said.

Suyadi added, Melon which is cultivated using drip irrigation system is in premium quality, starting from the taste, net or netted skin that is neatly arranged, and the ideal weight compared to conventional melons.

“The market is exclusive, so the taste is definitely different from what is sold in the conventional market. In Jatikerto, there are several types of rock, golden, and honey,” he said.

The technology-based agricultural cultivation process in Jatikerto is also used as a laboratory for Electrical Engineering students.

If melon plants are cultivated using hydroponic system, what the students done is aeroponic cultivation for vegetables.

Meanwhile, the team consisted of Muhammad Romadhani Prabowo (Electrical Engineering), M. Dilan Linoval (Electrical Engineering), and Salwana Nabilah (Biotechnology), with the supervisor of Eka Maulana.

The development of plant cultivation system uses an aeroponic medium called STRATO.

STRATO is a tool designed to increase the efficiency of cultivation of horticultural commodities that is integrated with robots and based on IoT.

This tool applies the concept of vertical aeroponic plantations, with plant racks equipped with several sensors such as TDS sensors, Ph sensors, and cameras to monitor plants in real time and determine the growth conditions and plant sizes with precision.

“The concept is similar to hydroponics, but it does not use water circulation, yet it uses mist with an ultrasonic mist maker which produces very small water particles, so that the distribution of nutrients is more easily absorbed by plant roots. The nutrition system is also controlled because it uses monitoring system, adjusted to the amount of nutritional needs, “explained Romadhani.

In addition to nutrients that are more easily absorbed, planting with aeroponic method also experiences faster growth since it uses LED lighting that is more constant than sunlight.

“We can use LED light to trigger the generative phase and the vegetative phase in plants, resulting in increased nutrition, faster growth, and obtaining the desired leaf texture and taste,” he said.

With this system, plants will be protected from pests or fungi. Vegetables are safer to eat, they don’t even need to be washed. The quality of the harvest is also more durable than hydroponic plants.

The concept of aeroponics is currently cultivated on hydroponic plants such as lettuce, mustard greens, bok choy, basil, spinach. “Currently, we are also exploring herbal plants for treatment or plants with high economic value, such as mint leaves and lemon balm,” said Dilan.

They conduct research at UB Agro Techno Park, which is UB field laboratory located in Jatikerto that emphasizes development technology for lowland agricultural commodities and tropical commodities.

“Currently we are perfecting this tool because there are still some problems with the nutrition sensor component. After the system runs smoothly, we will introduce it to the wider community,” he said. (OKY/Irene/Humas UB/ Trans. Iir)