What is satellite crop monitoring?
Satellite crop monitoring is an agricultural technology that facilitates the farmer to monitor the real-time crop vegetation index using spectral analysis of high-resolution satellite images from different fields and also set of crops which therefore enables the farmer to track the crop development in the field. In monitoring crop development, a farmer will observe positive growth, a scenario that is desirable and a wish of every farmer. In other cases, however, a farmer may detect negative events, but he is able to take measures early.
Satellite crop monitoring allows a farmer to perform crop monitoring of different sets of crops that are planted in different fields and regions by giving the difference in vegetation index of the various crops under study and monitoring.
Satellite crop monitoring plays a very important role in monitoring crops and keeping tab of the crops as they progressively grow. With satellite crop monitoring a farmer can monitor both the structural and the chlorophyll changes in plants over a given period. These observations enable a farmer to classify the crops, examine the health and determine the viability of the crops in that particular field as well as monitor the farming techniques and methods employed throughout the farming process with the aim of ascertaining whether they are the best practices and methods.
Users of the satellite crop monitoring information
- Owners of agricultural businesses. Information obtained from satellite crop monitoring can be used by owners of farming ventures to make reasonable investment decisions based on the expected returns as monitored in the field. Satellite crop monitoring also gives these individuals with information to come up with management decisions.
- Agronomists. Information obtained from satellite crop monitoring enables agronomists to perform crop vegetation control as well as come up with the estimated level of yields of the crops in the fields.
- Insurance brokers and dealers. Dealers of insurance heavily rely on information obtained from satellite crop monitoring to calculate and determine the premiums to be charged to their clients dealing with agricultural products. This information also enables the dealers to verify claims of compensation before they clear these claims for compensation.
- Producers of agricultural equipment and machinery. The producers of agricultural equipment and machinery use the data and information from the satellite crop monitoring to determine the accessories and support equipment to be added to the equipment and the machinery they are producing.
Incorporation of drones in farming
The integration of drones has dramatically revolutionized the practice of agriculture all over the world. Because drones are fitted with sensors and also cameras, it has become very easy for farmers across the world to monitor their farms. With the aid of drones, farmers are now able to get both 2D and 3 D images from their farms together with a lot more information captured by the drones. With this information, farmers are now able to make more informed decisions thus ensuring success on the farms.
Areas in which drones have been incorporated in the farm:
The drone technology has greatly influenced the monitoring of different crops in various stages of their growth. This has brought about timely measures to be undertaken by farmers if things are not going as planned or expected in the field. The drones take images and give live feeds of the farms or rather in real-time and these feeds are watched by the farmer remotely. The farmer can then discover any inefficiencies or anomaly and take necessary actions and measures before they result in losses.
Research shows that the use of drones in the field and plantation monitoring is accurate as opposed to the use of satellite images. This is attributed to the time taken by satellite imaging, which can sometimes stretch for weeks before a full diagnostic of the farm can be comprehensively found. In most cases, by the time the satellite imaging has been seen, the situation in the farms might be beyond remedy. This disadvantage of time while using satellite imaging for crop monitoring has been taken care of and remedied by the use of drones.
Drones used for spraying are fitted with high tech equipment including distance measuring equipment and also the light detecting technology that enables the drone to adjust its distance from the field based on factors like the land features on the land or topography of the land. This ensures that these drones do not crash into objects natural land features while spraying. This implies that there is the guarantee of safety while the drone is spraying and at the same time ensuring that it is spraying sufficient liquid to the crops in an equal and even manner.
The use of drones in spraying as opposed to the traditional spraying increases efficiency because aerial spraying by the use of drones reduces the amount of liquid entering the ground thus saving greatly on the pesticide used for spraying.
Soil and Field analysis
At the beginning of planting season, usually, drones are sent out to collect soil data as well as the overall condition of the field. This data will then be analyzed and then interpreted before being acted upon to ensure that the fields are ready for planting. Analysis of the soil is done to determine the nutrients level of the soil if it is found that there is the need for preliminary soil treatment before planting commences the farmer does this. Data that is obtained as a result of field surveillance is therefore used to prepare planting patterns and schedules for the farm.
Drones that are used to aid irrigation are always fitted with thermal sensors that identify which part of the fields are dehydrated and are in need of water. These drones can calculate the vegetation cover of the farm, and from the calculation of the vegetation cover, the farmer can know which part of the field needs improvement through irrigation. Another different technology that is used by these drones is the calculation of the energy emitted by crops or the heat signature of these crops to determine the area of the field with the lowest heat signature as which implies that there is the need to improve that part through irrigation.