The adoption of technologies in precision agriculture in recent years has been changing the ways farmers manage fields and treat crops. One does not have to be an expert to see how farming technology has made it more efficient, profitable, safer, and straightforward. Farmers have picked out a few technologies they deem to be the best:
Since farming fields are location-based, a handy tool in terms of precision farming can be GIS software. Farmers can use GIS software to map current and future changes in temperature, precipitation, plant health, crop yields, and so on. It also aids the use of GPS-based applications along with smart machinery to optimize the application of fertilizers as well as pesticides; given that the farmers do not have to treat the entire field, but only need to deal with specific areas, hence saving a lot of effort, money, and time. Another benefit of GIS-based agriculture is the application of drones and satellites to collect important data on weather, vegetation, soil conditions, and terrain from an aerial view which significantly impacts the decision making process.
Conducting almost real-time field monitoring as well as predicting yields to detect a number of threats with satellite data has never been as easy as it is today. The sensors can give images in various spectra, allowing the application of various spectral indices, like the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index or NDVI. The NDVI helps the detection of the amount of wilting plants, vegetation content and overall plant growth. The Canopy Chlorophyll Content Index (CCCI) helps farmers with the nutrient application. The Normalized Difference RedEdge (NDRE) helps detect nitrogen content, while the Modified Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index (MSAVI) minimizes soil background impact at the early developmental stages of plants.
With the help of drones, farmers have the incredible opportunity to detect the presence of weeds, plant height, crop biomass and water saturation on particular field areas with very high precision. They deliver more accurate data in higher resolution compared to satellites. They provide valuable information even faster than scouts when locally operated. Drones can also be used to fight insect invasion, which is prevented by applying insecticide on the vulnerable or infected areas using drones, reducing the risk of direct exposure which leads to chemical poisoning.
EOS Crop Monitoring
The Earth Observation System (EOS) has come up with Crop Monitoring which is a digital platform that employs satellite monitoring to fastrack a farmer’s decision-making so that he does not miss a vital point of field treatment. Crop Monitoring allows the use of the NDVI for tracking crop health. NDVI monitors the amount of chlorophyll in the plants, which helps obtain information about their condition. Higher NDVI values indicate healthier vegetation since the more chlorophyll is available to the plant, which makes the plant healthier.