Efficient Agricultural Technologies: Remote Sensing
There is much pressure on the agricultural sector to offer enough yield to feed the growing population in the world. Such pressure comes in the midst of numerous impacts of global warming and changes in climatic conditions that seem to have diverse impacts on agriculture. Presently, traditional approaches of farming are no longer as effective as the modern conditions of the environment required advanced methods to cope with the adverse conditions of climate. Such environmental changes explain the need for farmers to be able to have a picture of what to expect in terms of climate, as well as what inputs are needed for optimum output in yield. The implication is that farmers need to make effective prediction of various aspects in agriculture such as outbreaks in diseases and pests, crop growth and development, water supply, and the condition of the atmosphere among others. Such forecast is necessary in that it gives the farmers an overview of what change in climate, various changes in crop growth and development to expect to make better decisions. Remote sensing is an efficient modern technology that can help in the provision of important information for farmers to make eth best decisions on what practices and inputs to adopt in farming for high yields and reduced operational costs.
Potential for remote sensing in agriculture
Remote sensing is a significant technology in agriculture that has brought a breakthrough in the agricultural sector especially in helping farmers to increase the percentage of yields. Diverse big dollar decisions are possible in agriculture nowadays that revolves around the consolidation of the industry, business agreements, and investment. Nevertheless, understanding the technology around remote sensing, as well as how it helps improve agricultural production is an important aspect of consideration.
Remote sensing technologies are considerably great in farming especially in the monitoring of the status of the crops and farmlands for making effective decision based on the available information. Advanced optical imaging tools (satellite-based and hand-held) can be used in the detection of the differences in the physiology of plants. Remote sensing helps farmers collect information using phones or even from the internet to help in decision making. Remote sensing is a significant decision-making tool for any category of farmers. In fact, it is quite useful for the poor farmers as it helps them produce high yields while using few inputs and reduced costs of operation.
The adoption of modern sensing tools and instruments has offered an advanced platform that extends beyond simple photographic film. Modern devices of remote sensing are designed in a manner that they can measure heat, radiation, or light to capture diverse electromagnetic spectrum. The miniaturization of ongoing electronics and the increase in the popularity of commercial drones has made remote sensors quite affordable. The introduction of geographic information systems (GIS) has improved the efficiency of remote sensing devices. Such devices make it possible for farmers to organize and analyze data and other agricultural patterns with respect to certain locations. GIS and remote sensors are significant in delivering information that aligns with the specific needs of each farmer.
The fact that remote sensing devices are used in taking measurements from a given field for a given period makes it possible for farmers to make effective analysis of farming conditions according to the available data. Such an option is important in that farmers can engage in practices that are backed up by the right information and data and hence, guarantee positive harvest outcome. Using remote sensors, for instance can be used in the collection of data that can be used as early warning signs to help the farmer adopt practices suitable in countering certain conditions such as disease or change in weather, that would otherwise, interfere with the percentage of yield expected.
Remote sensing has various applications in farming. Some of the benefits of using remote sensing in agriculture include taking count of plants, evaluating the health of plants, estimating the percentage yield, assessing the loss of crops, managing irrigation, detecting weeds, identifying crop stress, as well as mapping a given field. While sensors make it possible to do any of these tasks, it is important to note that different types of sensors are used for diverse tasks. The sensor that a given farmer needs depends on a variety of factors such as the scale of the farmer, and the specificity of the farmer’s needs. The type of a remote sensor that a commercial farmer will need is different from what a small-scale vegetable farmer needs.
The grouping of sensors depends entirely on the associated enabling technology. For example, there are satellite sensors, aerial sensors, and ground sensors. Usually, ground sensors can be mounted on tractors or handheld, or even combine both uses. The ground sensors are idea in the evaluation of the level of nutrients, application of nutrients, weather and moisture content measurement.
Aerial sensors: the introduction of drones has made it quite easy and affordable to use aerial sensors in farming, and they can be used on airplanes. These sensors are designed in such a manner such that they capture high-resolution data and images effectively for analysis purposes. These types of sensors are ideal in taking population counting, detecting weed, estimating yield, and measuring content of chlorophyll, and in the evaluation of the salinity of soil. Nevertheless, the cloud cover and the wind can affect these types of sensors.
The other type of the sensors are the satellite sensors which offer cover over a large area of land and are quite used in monitoring the status of crops, loss calculation following the occurrence of severe weather events, or even in making assessment of the fields. While these sensors are very effective, they are quire costly, and cloud cover can affect their efficiency.
The adoption of remote sensing technology in agriculture has made farming quite cost-effective and rewarding. Unlike in the past when farmers planted with prior knowledge of certain important aspects such the moisture and nutrient content, it is possible to know such elements even before making any farming decisions. However, it is important to have clear knowledge of the technology, and the types of remote sensors that are specific for a certain land or needs before adopting one. Feel free to share this article with your friends and family and contact us for more information on the use of technology in agriculture.