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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Weather Forecast and Alerts
Weather is a major concern for all farmers. Weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable. Farming operations are directly dependent on weather conditions and farmers have to adjust their practices accordingly. The APOLLO Weather Forecast and Alerts service forecasts weather at highly localised level. The service provides field-level weather conditions like temperature, humidity and vector wind at 2m high, precipitation etc., and agrometeorological measurements (such as leaf wetness duration). In addition, alerts and notifications inform the farmers, in case of high impact weather events such as hail storms, frost, heat waves, blizzards, lightning and gales. Precipitation and temperature predictions are forecasted for seven upcoming days.
The APOLLO Weather Forecast and Alerts service provides highly localised daily meteorological forecasts and other field-level meteorological conditions and near real-time alerts on high-impact weather events.
A cloudy day in La Mancha, Spain (Credits: AgriSat)
FARM MANAGEMENT ZONING
There are areas in a field that share the same characteristics (i.e. regarding soil texture, crop vigor, crop yield, crop quality, etc.) and this is evident from their performance through the years. By using historical data these “repeated patterns” across a field can be identified. These areas are called “management zones”. Identifying and focusing on specific areas, can help farmers improve their practices, make better use of their resources and make the most out of the field’s capacity. The APOLLO Farm Management Zoning service defines different management zones, helping the user to decide how best to manage these areas.
The APOLLO Farm Management Zoning service helps identify zones with similar characteristics within a field based on the field’s historical data.
Rape flowering in Tarazona de la Mancha, Albacete, Spain (Credits: AgriSat).