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Satellite Field Monitoring in Agriculture: Why it’s More Effective Than Other Technologies

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Satellite Field Monitoring in Agriculture: Why it’s More Effective Than Other Technologies

Farmers worldwide have been successfully using satellite monitoring in agricultural practices. Although this technology is not new, it still successfully saves time, money, and human resources when it comes to field management. Satellite imagery is a great source for crop’ health assessment throughout the growing season, allowing for timely detection of critical changes in plant growth and development. Relying on accurate and relevant satellite data, farmers can make effective decisions and eliminate issues. But are there other alternatives to satellite monitoring? And why is it better than other field management techniques?

Satellite Field Monitoring

Monitoring large or remotely located fields using traditional methods requires a significant investment of money, time, and effort. Agronomists must systematically travel to the location and inspect the crops. But is there always enough time for this? While at the beginning of the plant growing season it is still possible to physically get deep into the field, it becomes even more challenging as the plants grow. If the damage by pests or a disease occurs in areas far-removed from the field borders, there is a risk that a farmer will detect issues at a much later point than necessary. Traditional field monitoring cannot provide farmers with a full picture, leaving many small but important areas of a field without proper attention. Such physical inconveniences considerably slow the field management decision-making process by the farmers. Fortunately, today there is a whole variety of agricultural decision support tools that rely on satellite monitoring and big data analytics to solve all the issues described above.
Over the past decades, a large number of different types of satellites have been launched into Earth’s orbit. Currently, there are plenty of agricultural online tools that allow access to pre-processed and analyzed satellite imagery. According to Harvest, using this type of reliable information is critical for making agricultural decisions.

Why Satellite Monitoring 

The main advantages of using satellite monitoring systems platforms include:
  • Calculation of vegetation indices at different crop growth stages
  • Automatic data processing
  • Analysis of large and remote fields in one place
  • Possibility of obtaining archived images
But what if we compare satellite monitoring to other popular ways of field management? 
The most common one that can be performed without the use of any technology is field scouting. However, performing field scouting is not effective on its own. It works much better when the farmers send scouts to the exact field zone that needs to be checked. And that is what satellite monitoring allows for.
Another popular practice in field management is the use of drones. However, compared to satellite monitoring, drones are much more expensive and require regular maintenance. Besides, to use a drone, the farmer still has to go to the field to operate the device.
Along with drones, diverse sensors to collect ground data are used. Though both data sources deliver trusted and accurate data, they are still too expensive to use to cover large areas. This is a case where satellite images are beyond comparison.
Overall, satellite field monitoring is cheaper and much easier to use, compared to its alternatives. The main advantages it offers is the detection of field boundaries, access to historical weather data, and the ability to manage several large and distant fields all on one app remotely. Besides, it increases the efficiency of scouting and application of fertilizers, pesticides, and water. That is because growers can remotely detect areas within a field that require treatment or need to be checked by a scout. All of this helps increase the efficiency of field monitoring practices by saving time and budget, ensuring higher profits for growers as a result.

Crop Monitoring

One of the tools that leverages satellite data for remote field management is Crop Monitoring by EOS. It provides users with the most relevant satellite imagery, also offering high-resolution images upon request. It gives farmers the ability to accurately and quickly assess the situation in the field, making timely decisions in case any issues occur.
Among the features Crop Monitoring platform offers are:
  • Vegetation / Productivity maps
  • Weather data (current, historical, and 14-days forecast)
  • Advanced vegetation indices
  • Soil moisture data
  • Field leaderboard (list of fields rated based on NDVI changes) 
  • Fertility / Seed scripting
  • Team accounts
  • Scouting (remote identification of zones that need to be checked, online scouting tasks management)
  • Convenient data output (import, export, bulk)
  • Zoning
  • Precise pesticides, fertilizers, water application
Thanks to all these marvelous features, Crop Monitoring allows farmers to save time, effort, and costs on field management via an effective assessment of plants health during the entire growing season. The tool automatically identifies changes in crop vegetation and helps to make informed decisions on field treatment, thus boosting yields in a timely manner.
The use of satellite field monitoring platforms in farming is becoming more and more common, proving undeniable benefits to users. All farmers have to do is just find the solution that suits their needs best. 

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