SMART AGRICULTURE: Crops Monitored From The Sky

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The condition of rice fields can now be monitored from the sky.

One example of Smart Agriculture is being able to monitor conditions of farms and crops from the sky. This is possible with what is called SEAMS or SARAI-Enhanced Agricultural Monitoring System that uses satellite images to monitor and give near real-time updates of rice and corn fields. Through this, farmers can assess the vulnerability of their crops, observe weather conditions even in places without any weather stations, identify possible breeding grounds of pests, and see changes in land use.

Prof. Moises Dorado, project leader of SEAMS and professor at UPLBโ€™s Institute of Agricultural Engineering, said that they want to guide the farmers with advanced technologies that are available. Satellite remote sensing, he added, is the most feasible technology, and the images generated by more than 200 satellites already in outer space are freely available. Every crop has a specific spectral signature, thus the satellite system would know if the field is planted to rice or corn, for example.

SEAMS can also give site-specific advisories and information to farmers about the most suitable crops for a particular soil.ย  Farmers can also refer to SEAMS if they decide to plant another crop or replace their crop with a drought-resistant variety in the next planting season.

Prof Dorado explained that their team sends real-time or even ahead-of-time information like weather forecast to the farmers through radio, text, among other means.

The ability to provide farmers with real-time or ahead-of-time information is what we want to happen, especially when we talk about climate change. We need to be prepared, Dorado said.

SARAI, by the way, stands for Smarter Approaches to Reinvigorate Agriculture as an Industry in the Philippines, funded by PCAARRD. (Excerpts from DOST Release)

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Monitoring the condition of a corn field can help the farmer by knowing what to do under certain circumstances.
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