Do-it-yourself systems can cost even less than professional installations. Cameras, recorders and associated technology are widely available online, although you will have to be willing to learn as you go for an effective installation.

Some online companies, such as Ayrstone Productivity, which specializes in DIY wireless networking and video systems for agriculture, offer systems designed to simplify setup and installation. The company offers systems that include cameras and wireless routers and hubs to build a network backbone to carry video signals to an office recorder and the Internet.

Bill Moffitt, Ayrstone president, suggests avoiding bargain-basement video systems, such as those offered at home improvement centers. These systems often use analog cameras without the connectivity bells and whistles that make it easy to monitor your farm from afar.