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Utilising Satellite Remote Sensor Technology in Agriculture

Utilising Satellite Remote Sensor Technology in Agriculture

Throughout the years, the agricultural industry has had to address various demands, heightening the need to adopt innovative solutions. When it comes to remote sensor technologies it has been early used by the agricultural sector since the 1950s. However, it was not until recently that satellite sensor technology emerged. Today, agriculture is one of the biggest consumers of satellite remote sensors. They use it to monitor the growth of crops through the advanced satellite images it provides. Unlike any drone picture, satellite technologies can present issues that are not visible or accessible to the human eye. This can act as a warning mechanism and save lives by removing risks and the time-consuming practices involved in maintaining crops. 

Using the satellite pictures taken, experts compare images and can notice changes quickly. Those who implement other industry 4.0 technologies, such as predictive and AI-based analytics, can receive recommendations and valuable insights on how any risks can be averted. This entire process of infusing remote sensor technology into agriculture is called precision farming. Through this, farmers can adopt feasible methods for fertiliser application, plant protection, dosed irrigation, and more farming activities. This also allows the agricultural industry to save resources and overall costs. 

How Does Using Satellite Remote Sensor Technology Work?

While many satellites and remote sensors are orbiting the earth now, each is used for different purposes and the amount of area it covers varies. When it comes to agriculture with large plots of land, satellite remote sensors help monitor them with one image, despite its size or can take a snapshot of a focused part of the crop. Hence, even with a resolution of 500 m or more, sensor technologies can provide a soil moisture map.  Since orbit speed is slow, satellite sensors can cover Earth’s entire circumference. All this data is processed into a ‘Crop Monitoring Platform’ whereby users can assess crops and see changes in a few minutes. 

It is through the pictures taken that various things are monitored in agriculture. The images demarcate multiple shades of colour that highlights an issue. The colour varies according to the light waves that travel from the sun to Earth, called the electromagnetic spectrum. There are visible and infrared visible regions used for this purpose. When such electromagnetic energy strikes plants, depending on the wavelength of the energy and the type of plant, it could either be absorbed, reflected or transmitted. Where the human eye is able to see crops in green colour, this means the energy has bounced off. This occurs because the plants’ chlorophyll has absorbed most of the energy, reflecting green colour.  The remaining energy is transmitted through the leaves and soaked into the ground. 

By monitoring how much energy is reflected, absorbed and transmitted, the sensor identifies ‘Spectral’ features, which helps determine the unique characteristics of certain species of plants. The technology can categorise these features according to healthy and non-healthy plants, warning farmers of any issue with their crops.

How Can A Satellite Image Help Solve Agricultural Issues?

While it is a snapshot of a field of crops, it is not any regular type of picture. Using an extremely advanced camera that provides high-resolution images, farmers can detect severe crop problems, even before they become irreversible. Here are five ways sensor technology helps the agricultural sector:

Identify Nutrient Deficiencies, Weed Infestations, Diseases and Damages

Monitoring the colour of crops is one pivotal way of understanding the plant’s health. The colour of a plant allows a farmer to assess the chlorophyll level it receives, indicating less nutrition. The satellite deploys its infrared and short wave sensors which depict that the leaf is damaged internally if the light changes the colour of the plat. The Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is a standard model for understanding healthy and unhealthy colour palates. This detects damages even at its initial stages, giving the farmer time to ensure that it does not spread to other crops and attempt to rectify the damage any plant has already suffered. 

Satellite remote sensing technology, moreover, can easily detect any contaminations or insect attacks. In areas with large and numerous crops, it is easy for farmers to precisely note where the contaminations have originated from and speedily halt them from spreading. 

Water Deficiency or Water Surplus in Crop Fields

Farmers use satellite remote sensor technology to also record the status of salt in soil and its health.  The technology will highlight that portion in brighter colours when there is a high amount of salt substances. This indicates to farmers that the soil needs more water and requires treatment. In contrast, thermal sensors can detect where there is water deficiency. This is done by monitoring the heat, which changes to a lighter tone. The farmer or agricultural expert who reads this can then deploy an aerial extended frequency infrared sensor (LWIR) to detect which region is radiating heat more and can afterwards fix or reorganise the irrigation framework.

Find Out If The Issue Is The Soil

Soil water mapping is a feature in satellite remote technology that precisely provides the amount of water, thereby speeding the process of upgrading irrigation structures. Other than detecting an issue in the irrigation framework,  sometimes the very cause for crops to be damaged could be an issue with the properties of the soil. Whether it is an imbalance in the level of organic substance, soil salinity, soil text or soil pH measurements, satellite remote technology will highlight it. To rectify this, farmers will have to implement soil treatment measures. 

Disaster Management

A well-known advantage of satellite remote sensors is their ability to help overlook weather conditions. Infusing this technology with ground sensors can be an enormous asset for farmers. This data combined gives accurate information on loss assessment. For example, areas with ill drainage frameworks are at risk during the monsoon period or if there is excess rainfall at any point. This, in turn, affects harvest and yield. Access to this information can help agricultural actors plan for damage control in the future and reduce the collateral damage that occurs. It can also forecast other natural catastrophe hazards, providing time to save as much as crops as possible.

How Does Cerexio Come Into The Picture?

Cerexio is one of the only technology vendors that enable globally recognised solutions to improve your yield at a large scale. It incorporates multiple industry 4.0 technology, including satellite remote sensors and related technologies, to help agricultural operations be carried out smoothly. Cerexio makes custom-made web-based tools to cater to the individual needs of farmers, agricultural experts, and agronomists. By incorporating the data collected through satellite remote sensors, actors in the farming industry can manipulate them using AI-power analytical tools to receive recommendations. They can also warn you of any impending risks without the interference or need of human experts, guaranteeing more accuracy in predictions. Such real-time updates give the industry to strategise and plan accordingly. Moreover, Smart Dashboards, Digital Twins and Simulations also let those in agriculture test out situations without risking losses. All of this helps agricultural actors to implement sustainable practices across all their operations. 

Connect with Cerexio to learn more about our solutions and services that can help ensure agriculture is thriving in your region or country.

No Other Technology Offers Such Advantages

The number of advantages that satellite remote sensor technologies offer is numerous. Unlike any other solution, this is not a technology whose features can easily be duplicated. It requires expert solution providers to carefully deploy satellite sensors out-of-space, placing and positioning them in the right places and with the correct resolution. This is why, Cerexio, a digital solutions provider with years of experience and internationally acknowledged for providing quality solutions in Asia and the world, is regarded as reliable.  Help a highly dependent industry and save countless lives by integrating satellite remote sensor technologies.

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