photo of green field near mountains

Building IoT for Ag

         Building IoT applications in Australia can be very challenging, and finding the right balance of network connectivity solutions can prove extremely difficult, especially in remote areas. We set out to find a viable solution which would allow farmers strong connectivity and a wide reach.

          The use case in mind is a farmer in a regional remote area working within a huge area of land, looking to collect readings from multiple sensors. The farmer would like to be updated via SMS & email.

          AGRIWEISS is a technology company that builds technology for people who would love to use data to grow plants and crops sustainably. A remote sensing device (IoT Device) is required to provide measurable insights into soil moisture and temperature data.

  This article briefly explains how we used Seeedstudio E5 and Ublox Thingstream to collect soil moisture and temperature data.


1.    Thingstream account

2.    Arduino MKR 1500 

3.    Thingstream MQTT Anywhere Sim card 

4.    Grove – LoRa-E5 (STM32WLE5JC), EU868/US915, LoRaWAN supported

5.    AGRIWEISS® LoraWan ® Lora E5 Development Board

6. 2x Antennas

7. Soil Moisture probe


To build a network of low-power remote monitoring soil sensors.



The AGRIWEISS® LoraWan ® Lora E5 Development Board (Fig 1) is a PCB board designed to host the LoRa-E5 Wireless Module – STM32WLE5JC and Seeeduino Xiao. This board is attached to a voltage soil sensor that serves as a transmitter by measuring the soil moisture and temperature of the plant. Data is being transferred wirelessly by Seeeduino Xiao (transmitter) to MKR 1500 (receiver – e5) through Peer-to-peer (P2P) networking.


Grove: LoRa-E5 is connected to an Arduino MKR 1500 as the receiver, as seen below in Fig 3.

The Arduino MKR 1500 board can perform IoT LTE cellular communication with a Thingstream sim card inserted. Thingstream provides a library that integrates with the u-blox SARA-R410M-02B. The Grove – LoRa-E5 on the hub receives data from the transmitter and publishes it to Thingstream.


  1. LoRaWAN gateways are expensive.

Costs: $225 USD

  • Arduino MKR 1500 $113.20USD – Including shipping (DHL)
  • Grove Lora-E5  $36.90USD – Including Shipping (DHL)
  • Thingstream Sim Card $ 5 USD – Including Shipping
  • Thingstream Bill – SMS, Email, data flow – $70.22USD

Future works:

  1. Test more than one transmitter sending data to a hub.
  2. Monitor power consumption for transmitter and receiver.
  3. Apply sleep mode to the devices to reduce power consumption.
  4. Add LED lights as indicators of operation mode and switch buttons for toggling power ON and OFF.

FIG 1:  AGRIWEISS® LoraWan ® Lora E5 Development Board

FIG 2:  Grove – LoRa-E5 (STM32WLE5JC), EU868/US915, LoRaWAN supported

FIG 3:  Receiver

Fig 4: Serial Monitor view of transmission device.

Fig 5: Serial Monitor view of MKR 1500.

Fig 6: Thingstream traffic log

Fig 8: Thingstream notification email.

Fig 9:  Payload on Thingstream

Fig 10:  Thingstream SMS notification.


A very big thanks to Seeedstudio our manufacturing partner and IoT enabler. They have stood by our side through our research and development process. Big thanks to Amanda Sun for the support and encouragement and to the rest of the Seeedstudio team.

Our development board is manufactured by Seeedstudio who has a wonderful team and great customer service – they provided us with Design for manufacturing checks to ensure our design was the appropriate standard for manufacturing. If you are looking to manufacture good quality products look no further than Seeedstudio PCBA.

A  special thanks to the AGRIWEISS team for working hard on this project, all credits are due to

  • Qistina Ropli – Hardware analyst
  • Justin Liang – Software Developer
  • Gautham Jayasankar – Hardware Developer
  • Antony Law – Hardware Engineer
  • Faith S – User Experience Research
  • Caitlin Fisher – Marketing
  • Chilumba Machona –  Chief Technology  Optimist

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to

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