The agritech sector is continually growing, and a large number of agricultural demands are not on course to be met.
However, this makes it the perfect opportunity for investors in the space tech sector. Satellite technology can make a huge difference to our agricultural needs.
Innovate technology has the potential to improve efficiency and reduce waste in the agricultural world, while also producing large returns.
Why Does it Matter?
Satellite data can help agriculture in a variety of ways.
One huge way it can help is by preparing farmers more effectively when it comes to environmental conditions. One big challenge farmer’s face is the unpredictable weather conditions. Satellite technology can monitor not only current conditions, but also make accurate future predictions.
This will help farmers know exactly what to grow and when, resulting in optimum crop yields and far less wastage.
The data can also help alert farmers to local issues such as irrigation or fertilisation, especially on family run farms. Machine to machine communication would be vital in these areas, as they’re less likely to have reliable terrestrial networks.
All of this implementation will help maximise efficiency and reduce overall costs, as any potential setbacks and issues will be easily identified (and acted upon) before anything gets worse.
What Are the Potential Uses?
There are several ways space data can be implemented in the agritech sector.
Farm Water Management
Water conservation is an extremely important issue, particularly in the world of agriculture. Due to a variety of factors, water usage can be very inefficient, resulting in large amounts of water being wasted.
Satellites can monitor the water and help farmers know where it should be distributed. Knowing this will help prevent over-irrigation and help conserve a potential of 18%-30% of farm water supply.
Not all crops across a field are exactly the same. Certain crops will need more fertiliser for more optimum growth. This is difficult to achieve through pure physical expression.
Satellite data will help farmers use the right amount of fertiliser, and figure out which parts of the field require more than others.
Drone technology can also assist in this area – after the specific area of the field requiring more fertiliser is located a drone can be dispatched to quickly address any issues.
Through satellite technology, farmers might never have to physically drive a tractor through the fields. Instead, satellite data can help farmers calculate optimal routes, which an autonomous tractor then follows.
This can maximise efficiency and reduce a lot of waste – the tractors won’t go anywhere they don’t need to go, and the routes calculated will take a lot of varying factors into account to help produce the best crop yields.
What Are the Current Uses?
There are some ways this technology is currently being used:
SolumScire – Soil Condition Monitoring
This company aims to understand soil conditions when it comes to crop production. This is done through satellite and positioning technology. It looks to offer spatially resolved soil information so that precision farming activities can be improved and optimised. This should look to help yields, stability and crop management.
Agriloc – Precision Farming Enabling Technology
Agriloc look to offer solutions for high precision farming. Their main aim is to help boost productivity, machine availability and user-friendliness, while at the same time reducing costs and potential environmental issues.
Fertisat – Fertilisation Management
This project aims to provide a tool for precise and optimal crop fertilisation. Not only that, but this tool has to be effective and affordable. Intelligent algorithms, which make use of satellite optical imagery and weather forecasting, are used to identify specific crop requirements, alongside moisture and weather conditions (both of which affect fertiliser absorption).
Businesses looking to use space data to advance a particular sector can apply for funding and support through ESA. ESA will provide funding with zero equity, general assistance and access to the ESA network.