Your (very) local forecast...

Article taken from the Agronomist & Arable Farmer

Plantsystems' Daily Forecast Xtra service combines a farm's local weather forecast with data from weather stations sited on the farm itself and uses this information to provide pest and disease infection risks for a host of arable, vegetable, fruit and flower crops. 

"Given the amount of data it is now possible to measure and send out, we have to make using this equipment as simple as possible," says Plantsystems' agronomist Colin Noble.

"The service covers approximately 50 diseases and five pests on 21 crop species, including early and late potato blight, Botrytis and mildew species in fruit, flowers, vegetables and field crops, as well as pests like codling moth, peach potato aphid and carrot fly.  As algorithms become available, we constantly add new diseases and pests."

The irrigation monitoring is the most advanced of its type in the UK and is based on Plantsystems' solar-powered GSM/GPS-linked soil moisture stations, widely used by leading potato and field vegetable growers.  These stations are fitted with a rain gauge and multi-level soil moisture sensors and deploy in reference crops, providing a continuous record of data.

Traffic Light System

"Growers have to be able to access the information and make sense of it quickly, and we believe the traffic light system we have developed for the irrigation monitoring will be invaluable for determining soil moisture status," says Mr Noble.

"Users will also receive an email alert which is triggered when soil water content drops below a planned threshold or when significant irrigation or rainfall is captured.

As well as providing real time information or irrigation need, the system allows growers to monitor irrigation applications as they occur, he adds.

In the future, this information could be transmitted directly to smart irrigation systems that could automatically apply the right amount of moisture for crop needs.

Plantsystems has developed another service, which combines soil moisture data will local weather forecast information.  The ACTIVE irrigation schedule provides an estimate of soil moisture status over the next three, five and seven days on a rolling basis via email.

"This flags up any deficits well in advance, allowing growers to assess when and where irrigation needs to take place and to prepare accordingly," says Mr Noble.

 

14 April 2014

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