Agriculture forms the basis of the world’s food supply chain. Climate conditions, weather extremes, availability of water, and soil conditions can be expensive challenges that can affect farmers and the overall food security of the world.
With the help of space-based technology, agricultural policymakers, food manufacturers, agronomists, and farmers can now simultaneously enhance production and profitability. Remote sensing technology and satellite cameras now play critical roles in crop development and monitoring drought, snow cover, and soil.
Accurate analysis and information can help predict the agricultural output in advance and can assist in mitigating and anticipating the effects of famines and food shortages. In this article, we will learn everything there is about satellite cameras for agriculture.
What Is Satellite Imagery Data?
Before we get into the gist of this article, we first need to know what is satellite camera is. It is safe to say that not all satellites are created equal. Various governments and companies have different requirements for satellites, and the data comes at multiple time scales and spatial resolutions.
Millions of pixels are compiled concerning the distance on earth; these pixels can represent any unit of distance on the ground like m2, km2, etc. However, this technology is getting better, and today, spatial resolutions can also close on resolutions as low as cm2.
Using Satellite Imagery For Remote Sensing
In this part, we will discuss how a satellite camera works. Of course, capturing spectral light measurements and images from space are standalone products. However, the information and data become more valuable when combined with various ground monitoring points, also known as remote sensing.
Remote sensing is the process where the data from the satellite camera is matched with ground samples (in our case the samples can include vegetation surveys, soil samples, weather station data, etc.). Therefore, scientists will be able to create estimates of the condition at several spatial scales on grounds where the measurement is not taken. The remote sensing technology is improving, and so are its abilities.
In the case of farming, remote sensing is very helpful for precision farming; this is the process where the farmer uses remote sensing and other complex algorithms to convert the satellite camera data into estimates. Using these methods will help farmers place more effective strategies and prioritize sustainability and profit simultaneously.
What Are Some Benefits Of Using Satellites In Farming?
Here are some ways that can help you understand how to use the satellite camera for farming:
1. Targeting Your Scouting Efforts
With the help of weekly images taken by the satellites, you will be able to detect and analyze problem areas in your farm faster. It will also optimize your scouting efforts. The most popular remote sensing technique you can use to identify trouble areas is NDVI; this is a method of detecting plant vigor that will show you the strength and health of a plant.
2. Optimized Use Of Nitrogen
Grounded in the biomass assessment during multiple crop seasons in a row, many satellite camera types provide maps that you can analyze to optimize the application of nitrogen. These maps can also be uploaded to the agricultural machinery to improve field productivity and efficiency. However, the reliability and accuracy of the nitrogen detection will still have to be validated because of environmental and biological complexity.
3. Optimizing Watering
Of course, crops would need the right amount of water to flourish. Excessive watering can result in water wastage and can also be harmful to the crops. With the help of satellite data, you will ensure that the crops will get the right amount of water, no matter if you have different types of crops growing on the same field.
4. Placing Field Performance Benchmarks
Using a satellite camera system, you will be able to monitor field performance every week. You will also get access to additional information like precipitation, weather, etc. This can help in comparing farm fields on a larger scale and identify those which are underperforming to implement immediate treatment actions.
5. Experimenting On A Large Scale
The ultimate goal of using satellite imagery for any farmer is to increase the crop yield and reduce inputs simultaneously. While experimentation is nothing new to the world of farming, it was unable to scale and could not be used for large fields. Today, however, you can deploy large-scale tests on an entire farm with the help of these satellites and some aid from a UAV.
Final Thoughts on the Satellite Camera
With the current use of satellite data and remote sensing, most people would believe that agriculture will soon become fully automated; this will result in high output levels, thanks to the increased productivity of the farms. While it is safe to say that satellites will play an important role in precision farming, it will not be the only type of technology that will be used. The use of other technologies like UAVs, etc., will work in concert with these satellites to provide the best data and information. In short, it is possible to see an era where crop yield is at an all-time high.