Frost monitoring at the Institute of Organic Agriculture

Das FiBL, mit Sitz im schweizerischen Frick, ist eine unabhängige Forschungseinrichtung, die sich mit der Erforschung von Methoden und Anwendungen des biologischen Landbaus beschäftigt. Gerade wenn man die Nutzung künstlicher Hilfsmittel im Landbau möglichst auf ein Minimum reduzieren möchte, ist der Ernteertrag sehr abhängig von äußeren Umständen. Eine knackige Kältewelle zu Beginn des Frühlings kann hier ausserordentliche Schäden verursachen.

The Challenge

In recent years, the consumption of organically grown food has become a trend. However, as with any form of agriculture, one is also at the mercy of nature’s whims in organic farming. To reduce the crop loss caused by frost, the Research Institute for Organic Farming conducts what is known as frost monitoring during the spring months. During this process, on-site employees meticulously monitor temperatures, especially overnight and in the early morning hours, in order to activate frost candles in a timely manner when there is a rapid drop in temperature. These frost candles help protect the crops from the abrupt death caused by frost.

Until now, this was done through manual on-site temperature monitoring. Those responsible had to stay near the plants during critical days and weeks, regularly checking the temperatures. Immediate intervention was required when approaching the freezing point. It’s no surprise that in the era of the Internet of Things, this practice has prompted some reevaluation. To save time and resources in this process in the future and to reduce the discomfort for the employees, FiBL sought a smart digital solution for the entire frost monitoring endeavor.

In a collaborative project with CITAL, an effort was made to design this solution and simplify the entire frost monitoring process in as many ways as possible. This ensured that employees can be back in the warmth and continuously view valid data on their computer screens. Additionally, in the future, alarms will enable targeted and timely interventions.

The use of frost candles in fruit cultivation at the Research Institute for Organic Farming in Frick.

Our Solution

The result of this collaboration is our CITAL Meteo Basic weather station. By networking via LoRaWAN® and limiting the sensor values to the necessary basic functions (air temperature, humidity, and air pressure), we were able to produce a cost-effective IoT sensor that effectively helps the customer solve problems. Our stations have been placed at critical points in the field and send current data every fifteen minutes. The relatively low price also enables close monitoring, which helps identify hyper-local climate variations more effectively and allows for timely intervention.

CITAL is not just a company that develops and produces sensor hardware but should be seen as an end-to-end service provider. Therefore, we also offer our flexible dashboard solution to our customers. With this graphical user interface, FiBL was able to position their stations clearly on a map and monitor all data neatly arranged in a browser window. The developed solution can be used not only for frost monitoring but also for any type of climate monitoring, whether for individual hotspots where specific local data is important or for expanding a dense climate network that provides insight into the microclimatic differences in an area.


  • Shorter, targeted field operations and more efficient routes
  • Digital early warning system
  • Reduced crop losses due to frost damage
  • Cost savings through more targeted use of heating elements
  • No manual outdoor monitoring
  • Recorded history

This transmission standard has succeeded in turning IoT from a buzzword into a widely usable technology. LoRaWAN® is a proprietary IoT connectivity protocol known for its low power consumption and high transmission range. Typically, networks are built in a mesh network architecture, but LoRaWAN® uses a star architecture, which means that gateways are not always assigned to specific participants; instead, a participant can send information to multiple gateways. These gateways, in turn, forward the data packets to the network server without processing them beforehand. This means that a significant portion of the complexity is shifted to the network server for data validation and processing, simplifying the workload for the sensors and resulting in significantly less energy consumption.

The Internet of Things, as it is called in German, is a collective term for numerous technological solutions that enable the networking of devices and other physical and digital objects. By assigning unique identification numbers to machines and sensors and allowing them to transmit their information through various wireless or wired standards, numerous processes can be optimized, and in some cases, even real-time data can be collected that was previously inaccessible. This has become possible on a widespread and scalable basis in recent years, thanks to protocols specifically designed for transmitting sensor data, such as LoRaWAN® or NB-IoT.

Cybersecurity is an important topic nowadays. For this reason, we rely on a proven approach and common industry standards. Data transfer in the IoT field, especially with LoRaWAN®, is encrypted by default, which is an integral part of the security model. Our data is encrypted, and data transfer is carried out using verified open-source standards.

In principle, there is no minimum quantity to be fulfilled by Cital. However, with a higher number of sensors, there can be scaling effects and synergies that justify an optimized price. Don’t hesitate to contact us with your individual request. You can get in touch with us through the contact form here.

The exact costs of our products and services depend on various factors. For this reason, we recommend that you simply get in touch with us if you’re interested. We’d be happy to discuss your individual needs in a conversation and then work on a suitable offer accordingly. You can contact us through the contact form here.

The sensors developed by Cital have the unique feature of falling back to a so-called “logger mode” in case of poor connectivity. This means that your data will continue to be recorded for a certain period of time, and when the network connection is restored, the data will still be transmitted. This way, you can rest assured that even in the event of a network outage, no data will be lost, and there will be no significant gaps in the data.

We see ourselves as an end-to-end service provider and aim to take the burden of IoT and information networking off our customers as much as necessary. For this reason, we not only implement our own produced sensors but also utilize purchased components or even develop new sensors when our customers demand and require them. Please feel free to contact us with your individual request, and we will assist in problem-solving.

Some of our service packages include an individual Service Level Agreement (SLA). This allows our customers to ensure that they can expect a response within a defined time frame. Our standard response time is a maximum of 48 hours during regular business hours (Mon-Fri).

Of course not. We are open to using and implementing other technologies as well. Due to our history, we have developed special expertise in LoRaWAN®; however, many of our learnings can also be applied to other IoT protocols. We have no reservations in this regard, and our infrastructure was designed from the beginning to support as many IoT protocols as possible, manage them, and display their data.

Our user interface is designed for maximum compatibility. That’s why we use responsive web design that works in the browser window of any device and provides necessary functions and displays. The dashboards are also compatible with mobile devices and can be scaled to any screen size.

Noch Fragen?

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