APOLLO’s four services support better decision-making and optimised use of agricultural inputs, reducing waste and increasing yields.

SERVICES

The four APOLLO services support farmers at all stages of the growing cycle. The services will be made available on the APOLLO platform over the internet through the desktop, or via the dedicated APOLLO mobile/tablet application.

Know when to till for best results, avoiding soil degradation and saving energy.

Find out when and how much to water your crops, reduce waste and avoid over-irrigating.

Keep an eye on the state and health of crops from emergence to harvest.

Analyse field productivity and make better-informed decisions on whether to sell or store.


Tillage Scheduling

Tillage is the practice of preparing the soil for planting, usually performed on farms using specialised tillage implements. The amount of water in the soil is an important consideration for effective tillage.

If soil is tilled when its water content is higher than soil’s upper plastic limit, large clods can be produced and structural damage can occur to the soil, which will impede plant growth and lead to uneven stands. If, on the other hand, the soil water content is less than soil’s lower plastic limit, tillage requires excessive energy and dust is created resulting to severe soil degradation. This is a major threat to agricultural sustainability and environmental quality. Both sets of problems can be minimised if the soil is tilled at a time when the soil moisture content is between the accepted soil moisture levels.

The APOLLO Tillage Scheduling service can provide information on when soil tillage should be performed, according to the soil’s water content. The farmer can estimate if it is possible to apply soil tillage and to identify spots where the soil cannot be treated at subparcel level (e.g. mudding spots).

Soil degradation due to improper tillage at low soil moisture content
Tractor stuck in the mud due to high soil moisture content
Tractor stuck in the mud due to high soil moisture content

Irrigation Scheduling

Agricultural irrigation uses more fresh water globally than any other activity, and therefore, improving the efficiency of water usage remains a global priority. Irrigation scheduling means using just enough water at the right time, taking into account the state of the crop, soil moisture content and the weather. Current irrigation scheduling practices involve a range of costly and time-consuming methods and equipment for determining the soil moisture and the crop water needs, including the “hand-feel” method, tensiometers, meteorological stations, electrical resistance blocks, pressure chambers and infrared thermometers. APOLLO offers a cost-effective alternative to these practices.

The APOLLO Irrigation Scheduling service determines the correct frequency and duration of watering for avoiding problems caused to crops by over- and/or under- application of water.

Well-irrigated crops
Well-irrigated crops
Wilted crops due to absence of water
Over-irrigated crops
Over-irrigated crops

Crop Growth Monitoring

The APOLLO Crop Growth Monitoring service gathers essential crop condition information (status,  growth trends) during the biological cycle. Indirectly, crop growth monitoring can help in delineating different management zones at sub-parcel level for variable rate application of fertilizers and plant protection products. Current methods for monitoring crop growth include costly and-time consuming aerial or field surveys which involve many different sensing instruments, such as hyperspectral cameras.

The APOLLO Crop Growth Monitoring service will enable farmers to keep an eye on their crops’ status from emergence through to harvest, and provide early alerts in case of infestations and nutrient deficiencies.

Wheat crop in healthy development
Wheat crop in healthy development
Wheat with fungal infestation
Wheat with fungal infestation

Crop Yield Estimation

Crop yield estimation is important for the analysis and comparison of field productivity but also it allows farmers to decide at farm level whether to sell or store the product, and for enabling effective transfer from farm to the industry. Currently, crop yield estimation is mainly performed through time-consuming and expensive field sampling which includes the measurement of biomass weight and grain size.

The APOLLO Crop Yield Estimation service forecasts crop yield before harvest, allowing an assessment of the farmer’s expected income, as well as enabling the adaptability of crops and/or varieties to be evaluated in combination with Crop Growth Monitoring service.

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APOLLO will launch initial services in April 2017. Sign up to be amongst the first to try out the new services!