- Issue: Fall 2014
A farmer’s success is bound to the weather; 90% of the world’s crop losses are estimated to be the result of weather-related incidents. Weather monitoring stations are helping to minimize the loss of crops, as well as to avoid the burden that misused agricultural resources place on the environment.
FINE-TUNING THE ALMANAC
Conditions from field to field—such as soil makeup, topography and pests—can differ dramatically. Weather monitoring stations help create a more detailed picture of what each field needs, and when. If a station predicts heavy rain, a farmer can avoid unnecessary irrigation or wait to apply fertilizers that could be washed away. Other data from the stations can enable the customization of fertilizer applications and inform harvest dates for various crops.
Radio Transmission Unit (RTU)
Every 15 seconds, the station takes a data snapshot of all the variables it’s measuring. Every 15 minutes, the RTU averages the latest snapshots. Every 30 minutes, the averages are transmitted to a hub where the data can be tracked and analyzed.
Rain Gauge and Anemometer
These devices track rainfall and wind speed and direction, respectively.
Temperature and Relative Humidity
A combi-sensor measures air temperature and relative humidity using a UV-resistant shield and ventilated structure to reflect radiation while absorbing heat.
Through a grid of small channels etched into a ceramic plate, a leaf wetness sensor mimics the surface of an actual leaf and records moisture levels. The simulation allows farmers to measure fog and dew as well as precipitation, and can sharpen fungus and disease control practices.
This sensor measures the total amount of solar energy reaching the ground, both directly from the sun and indirectly scattered from dust, clouds and other particles in the sky.
Energy captured through a small, high-efficiency solar panel powers the radio transmission unit. Batteries only need to be changed every two years.
Soil Moisture and Temperature
(not pictured) Energy captured through a small, high-efficiency solar panel powers the radio transmission unit. Batteries only need to be changed every two years.