How GIS Can Help You Win the Farm
Agriculture Technology and Stuff
Today’s farmers use sophisticated agriculture technology because they can save time and money. Crops grow in specific locations. This makes Geographic Information Systems (GIS) an EXTREMELY relevant tool for farmers.Precision farming uses GPS on the field. While satellites and drones collect vegetation and weather information from the sky. Where does this data all go? That’s why agriculture maps serve it to the people. Let’s look at some agriculture technology examples.
DataFrom the Machine– Precision Farming
Farmers use precision agriculture because they can reduce the amount of fertilizer applied on the field.
Not only do farmers save money on fertilizer, but they are saving the environment from over-application. This is because of lot of the excess fertilizer tend to end up in streams and rivers by run-off.
Precision farming applies fertilizer only where it’s needed. It’s site-specific.
Sensors on a machine gather information about the crops. In addition, the GPS gives you the exact position on the field. Precision farming then applies a variable rate of fertilizer to nutrient-deficient sites.
The farmer who uses precision farming can save anywhere in the ballpark of 2-15$ per acre. Over time, this makes an incredible investment.
Data From the Sky– Satellites and Drones
What do crops need to grow?
Other than sunlight and nutrients, plants need the right amount of water. Too much (flooding) or little (drought) water impacts crop growth.
Satellite technology like Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity (SMOS) collect real-time (passive) microwave energy from the Earth’s surface. This can better forecast crop production and monitor drought and flooding.
Landsat satellites analyze the greenness of vegetation using indices like Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). We have a local and global estimate of crop productivity for the entire planet from a long list of satellites orbiting the Earth.
What can drones collect on a field?
-Plant height, count and biomass estimates
-Presence of disease and weeds
-Plant health and field nutrients
-3D elevation and volumetric data
Instead of workers scouting fields, agriculture technology like drones can cover more ground.
Drones can inspect crop health from the sky and where plant stress is occurring. Farmers can use precision watering sensors because they know where it’s needed most.
One small drone can help make some VERY powerful decisions for farmers.
Precision farming, satellites, drones, webmaps and sophisticated models– this list represents some of the agriculture technology being used on farmland today.
The modern-day farmer needs to understand a lot more than just what to seed– soils, weeds, nutrients, weather, insects, disease, machinery and climate.
These emerging trends provide the location intelligence farmers need to get the job done faster and with more knowledge.