The climate and local weather weather conditions have a key influence upon agriculture. Weather events such as heat, drought, heavy rain or frost have always governed the everyday life of farmers. Accelerating climate change is making extreme weather events more common. But the latest technologies can help to predict and respond to them.
The quality of crops and the reliability of yields are strongly linked to the prevailing weather. Since land is generally cultivated in the form of open fields, the predominant climatic conditions determine which types of crops can be cultivated. Influencing these conditions is, however, virtually impossible.
Irrigation can compensate for lack of precipitation and excess rain can be diverted by drainage. However, it is not only the total moisture but, above all, its distribution over time that is decisive for optimal growth. There are very sophisticated technical means for optimizing this distribution. For example, moisture sensors placed in the soil at various depths measure the daily water consumption of plants in the different layers of soil. The optimal time for irrigation is calculated by software. This helps to avoid the stress caused by both drought and excessive watering.
No matter how many technological innovations happen in the agriculture industry, growing food will always be dependent on the weather where it is grown. Weather is the most important variable in crop health and being able to closely monitor it is extremely valuable when determining planting times, treatment plans, irrigation schedules and more.
Components of Weather Stations
Anemometer -Measures wind direction and speed
Thermometer-Measures atmosphere temperature
Hygrometer -Measures relative humidity using a percentage measure of water vapor in the air
Barometer-Measures atmosphere pressure to predict precipitation.
Raingauge-Measures the amount of rainfall over a given time interval
Pyranometer- Used to calculate ‘evapotranspiration' the rate at which water evaporates from the soil.
UV Sensor – These sensors are used for precision growing in particular crops where over exposure to UV- rays can stunt leaf growth or affect potency.
Leaf wetness sensor –Measures surface moisture of plants. Date from these sensors are used in fungal disease control.
Soil moisture sensor- Measures water levels in the soil.
Soil Temperature sensor-Monitors the soil temperature to detect freezing or height temperatures that can put crops at risk.
Putting the data to work
The information gathered from these various sensors can be used in many areas of production, including planting, harvesting, spraying, irrigation and protection.
Soil Temperature and moisture are key factors that impact seed germination and planting too early can have serious consequences. Atmospheric and soil temperature sensor are useful in determining the right time to plant to give your crops the best chance. Soil moisture sensors can let you know where the ground is too wet or dry to plant.
Wind speed and direction are two obvious factors that affect the spraying of pesticides or chemicals. Humidity information from weather sensors can be used in combination with temperature and wind information to make more informed decisions on where and when to spary.
On-farm weather stations can contribute to water savings, for the environment and for your wallet. High quality weather stations featuring rain gauges, soil moisture sensors and sensors that can measure evapotranspiration can all be used to access your crops irrigation and watering needs, and to help you avoid excess water use.
Growers of crops sensitive to wind are well aware of the damaging effects that high winds and poor weather can have on yield, one intense windstorm can cause massive or total losses of some crops. Monitoring wind speed and atmosphere pressure changes in your area means that it is easier to take precautions like covering or netting crops in the event of a coming storm.
Timing your harvest is a critical aspect of precision agriculture. Poor timing can lead to huge losses at harvest time. Hyperlocal weather information will allow you to most accurately predict the maturity of your plants, and make the best decisions for when to harvest.
These tools are extremely effective as you can collect and interpret your data into something useful.