The following is the first post in a three-part series on farming and agribusiness technology. The series offers an overview on how farming tech advancements, such as artificial intelligence and satellite imagery, can improve agribusiness operations.
Would you have guessed that agriculture is one of the fastest changing industries due to technology? One of these technologies is satellite imagery. Are you curious to see how the two go hand in hand?
Satellite Imagery Technology: What Is It?
Think Google or Apple Maps but far more in depth. Farms use the angles and insights provided by images to make informed decisions regarding planting, irrigation and harvesting crops.
A few types of applications farmers use include:
- Visible imagery – Black and white pictures using the sun’s radiation.
- Infrared imagery – Ability to see temperatures such as in clouds. Can be taken at night.
- Water vapor imagery – Use wavelengths sensitive to moisture in the atmosphere.
- Near-infrared imagery (NIR) – Infers how much a plant is photosynthesizing.
Precision agriculture is a result of this technology at work which saves a farmer time and resources.
How Exactly Do Satellites Help Farmers Become Efficient.
Let’s take a 100 acre corn field as an example. A satellite takes an image of the whole field, greener areas show heavier corn production whereas red represents the opposite.
The farmer utilizes this image to conclude that 75 percent of his corn yield comes from only 35 percent of the field. So what does this mean for the farmer?
They should maximize seed density in the higher yield area where the soil can handle it and minimize in the lower yield area. Since there are more seeds, more fertilizer and fungicide should be applied to increase growth and prevent disease.
This is just one of the many benefits Satellite Imagery Technology provides farmers. A few others include identifying:
- Where irrigation equipment may have malfunctioned.
- Uneven distribution of seeds.
- Patterns of disease, weeds or pest infestations.
- Fertilizer needs.
- Overall health of a crop field.
What’s next? Most of these images are handed to a farmer after the fact and can be leveraged for future yield. In the near-future, real-time imagery will be possible and integrated directly into a farmer’s equipment.
Want to learn more about how technology can spur growth on the farm? Check out the next articles in the series
- Driving Growth with Technology: Artificial Intelligence on the Farm
- Driving Growth with Technology: Sustainable Solutions (coming soon)