Weather forecast is among the most critical assets in any farmer's arsenal. Relying on it, a grower can make predictions and take actions regarding irrigation, fertilization, and soil preparation overall. An incorrect forecast could lead to severe consequences. The farmer would have to spend money to restore the harvest, and in some situations, pay a forfeit to partners who have made a pre-order of products.
In climates where weather conditions are unpredictable and can change at the most unexpected moment, farmers have to be especially aware. If not, there is a threat that the harvest will be lost entirely, and the grower will have to wait for the new season to consider the former mistakes. Therefore, it is best to pay special attention to weather monitoring and forecasting to eliminate the related threats. Luckily, modern technology is there to help farmers with that.
Specialized equipment such as modern meteorological devices is already presented in a wide range in technical stores. And modern computer technologies have significantly expanded the capabilities of various devices that track soil characteristics, possible changes in wind, temperature, and other ag weather data.
This piece will discuss what modern tech has to offer for smarter and easier weather monitoring and explain why it's so essential for farmers specifically.
The Impact of Weather on Crops
Agriculture is one of the primary consumers of meteorological information as it's highly dependent on weather conditions. Every farmer knows how critical are soil and air humidity, the amount of precipitation, light, and heat when maintaining healthy plants and soil when growing crops.
Every year more and more farmers are faced with drought in the fields, a decrease in moisture in the soil, and a number of other reasons that affect productivity. Rapid weather changes can negatively affect yields and reduce the level of efficiency of agricultural production.
Among the many meteorological components, 3 main factors affect the yield:
The yield of most crops depends not only on the amount of precipitation but also on its frequency and duration. This is especially critical for areas with an arid climate. Knowing the weather conditions beforehand, farmers can plan agricultural activities more wisely and accurately.
The weather has the most significant influence on yields, so modern growers adapt their economic activities to all seasonal changes. They use innovative technologies like GPS monitoring, satellite imagery, field sensors, and more to preserve and increase the future harvest. But before we move on to technologies, let's see the main weather parameters a farmer should pay attention to the most.
?ritical Weather data to measure:
- Rainfall (precipitation)
- Soil and air temperature
- Wind (storm detection)
All this data can be collected and stored on one platform designed for weather monitoring to be accessible through any device. Hence, the farmer has all the necessary weather data to ensure reliable decision-making.
Top Technologies for Weather Monitoring and Forecasting
Now let's see which main technologies cater to the development of intelligent weather monitoring for agriculture.
One of the most popular smart gadgets in agriculture is IoT-powered weather stations composed of various smart sensors. Located across the field, they collect environmental data. The measurements obtained can be used to compare climatic conditions, help to select appropriate crops for planting, and take the necessary measures to increase yield.
Benefits of IoT solutions for weather condition monitoring include:
- Reduced risk related to severe weather conditions
- Smarter use of resources
- Increased product quality
- Ability to receive real-time notifications
- Reliable data on current local weather
- Availability of integration with third-party services
Modern satellites are able to take pictures daily, which allows for comparing these images for creating weather and other climatic changes analyses. The images can be animated to get a minute-by-minute view of the weather from a satellite. Satellite animation is a great tool for understanding weather development and cloud movement and is often used by meteorologists for short-term weather forecasting. Besides, satellite pictures provide an opportunity to analyze historic local weather, which is critical in weather forecasting when it comes to deciding what and when to plant.
AI and ML
AI algorithms are usually used in different farming apps and enable farmers to predict weather conditions for weeks and sometimes months in advance. This allows for planning the work of farms and taking measures to reduce losses. AI tells farmers when to plant seeds, water the land, how much fertilizer to apply, and when to harvest. This approach saves labor, reduces costs, and increases productivity.
Benefits of Weather Monitoring for Agriculture
By monitoring and analyzing the data mentioned above, farmers can receive the following benefits:
- Saved production costs
- Saved water resources
- Saved time on crop production
- Faster and smarter decision-making
Ultimately, weather monitoring technologies in farming also allow for mitigating the effects of climate change thanks to unusual weather predicting and empowering growers to optimize the use of resources while cultivating the crop both effectively and sustainably.