Learn more about the implications of weather sensors for growers
Agriculture is extremely dependent on the climate. Weather can be a grower's best friend one day, and their dreaded enemy the next. Growers are constantly dealing with weather issues when it comes to their crops, whether it's freeze or extreme warmth. Freeze can often entirely destroy a crop, but also, in certain areas of agriculture, the cycle of freezing and thawing can help the grower by trapping nutrients and loosening the soil for the future. When it comes to heat, growers are faced with a similar issue. Many growers need higher temperatures for their crop to thrive, but the downside to more heat and moisture is that most weeds, pests, and diseases thrive in this kind of climate. Growers across the globe are constantly looking for new and improved ways to manage their decisions to combat climate change throughout the year.
innov8.ag, Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, Washington State University, and many other collaborators are in the process of implementing a "Smart Orchard" at Columbia Reach / Chiawana Orchards. Our goal is to completely sensorize part of the orchard in order to research how agronomic technology & supporting data can further the decisions of the grower. In this particular instance, we are working toward maximizing crop yields in collaboration with the growers at Columbia Reach / Chiawana Orchards on how to make better decisions based on always-changing environmental conditions. The data analysis provided by innov8.ag for the sensors created by our collaborators can help the growers understand the weather inside the canopy of the crop to identify how to better manage their water usage, as well as the amount of chemicals that are used to reduce potential pests, disease, and damage. This ultimately saves money on labor to operate within these areas.
The innov8.ag team would like introduce you to the weather sensor providers working with us on the Smart Orchard Project, and showcase how their sensors can improve the life of a grower dealing with weather. In this update we'll share an overview of the weather station providers, complemented by a summary of the basics - temp & humidity weather variables collected thus far. One of the differentiators with this project is that weather sensors are positioned outside of the orchard, and then within the orchard - both above the canopy and within the canopy. This ultimately will help us understand microclimates & nanoclimates throughout the season as they shift based on weather, irrigation, crop vigor, and soil moisture. WSU & innov8.ag have a team of meteorologists & data scientists that are actively assessing these variables, and we'll share a future update on our findings - and what it means for growers.
As you can see, the weather sensors are distributed across two 20-acre blocks, with emphasis on our "experiment block" on the right.
Davis Instruments- GroWeather Sensor Suite (6820)
The Davis GroWeather micro climate weather station is a customizable station with a wide range of options for growers to measure, monitor, and manage weather data without having to use a PC. These stations were designed to handle extreme weather conditions. The grower will be able to receive their own local forecasts, highs/lows, totals or averages, and graphs for virtually all weather variables up to years in the past. The image to the left shows the entire sensor suite that combines their ability to collect data with the rain collector, temperature and humidity sensors, anemometer, UV, and solar radiation sensors to give growers the ability to manage all the weather variables within their orchard or farm on their own.
The EnviroMonitor Gateway and Node sensor delivers data to the grower that they need to constantly manage the key elements of agriculture to keep their crops healthy and their yields high, and save more money. By computing data into a cloud that is easily accessible on a PC or a mobile device, EnviroMonitor will create a system that is unique to the individuals land and crops so that more accurate and informed decisions can be made. Rather than having generalized data based off of certain crops in regions of the country, the EnviroMonitor monitors the changes of the crop growing on the grower's own land.
The Atmos 41 micro climate weather stations is a small, affordable, easily installed, and durable weather station with 12 different weather variables. It was designed for continuous deployment in harsh climates, such as Africa, which means there are no moving parts to fail. Reliability and maintenance are simplified because there’s never any mechanical wear. Plus, the ATMOS 41 weather station is accurate. Specialized pins made of real gold measure every drop of rain. The 0.017 mm resolution means it can accurately measure small rainfall and even heavy dew events that other rain gauges miss. And, no moving parts means the ATMOS 41 anemometer is accurate at low wind speeds. Installation is also simplified as it has plug and play capabilities with near real-time data access from the cloud when used with the ZL6 data logger.
Using such a station allows the grower to obtain a variety of weather variables without having to constantly manage wear and tear on the device. This gives the grower more informed decisions with less to deal with.
The Atmos 14, in-canopy weather station combines air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and vapor pressure all into one sensors. The Atmos 14 is a low-maintenance and rapid sensor designed to take temp/RH measurements. By keeping this sensor compact and durable, the grower can collect data even in tight, hard to reach places. Setup is simple as it has plug and play capabilities with near real-time data access from the cloud when used with
the ZL6 data logger.
AgriNET (ANTHA in-canopy weather)
AgriNET's ANTHA is a small-profile weather sensor combo that measures air temperature, relative humidity, water pressure, water temperature, battery level, and leaf wetness within a 99% accuracy rate. Since this product is small and low-power,
it can be installed easily within the canopy, using the included pole clamps. This product is commonly used for frost management, cooling management, & disease modeling.
Using the included mobile network connectivity, the sensor package reports updates every 15 minutes, which enables real-time disease modeling. These models are recalculated with each new data packet and adjusted by forecasts to deliver on-target spray recommendations.
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