No matter how many technological innovations are made in agriculture, growing food will always depend on weather changes in the environment. Weather is the most important variable for crop health, and being able to monitor it closely is valuable in determining planting times, treatment plans, irrigation schedules, and so on. Weather information is valuable in guiding farm management decisions. Weather station equipment is therefore an invaluable tool in a grower’s Arsenal.
Ways in which weather station equipment can help growers include assessing live wind conditions (speed/direction) for spraying chemicals, applying a herbicide when temperature, humidity and rainfall conditions assure best results, documenting wind for spray drift risks, forecasting diseases, predicting crop or insect stages to ensure timely treatments, and predicting yields and harvest quality attributes. However, it can be difficult to extract these insights from the raw data weather stations generate. Weather stations can include a huge variety of weather station equipment, but a few of the most common are listed below.
Common weather station equipment：
Anemometer – Measures wind direction and speed.
Thermometer – Measures atmospheric temperature.
Hygrometer – Measures relative humidity using a percentage measure of water vapour in the air.
Barometer – Measures atmospheric pressure to predict precipitation.
Rain Gauge – Measures liquid precipitation using an open container. They usually empty automatically and measure the amount of rainfall over a given time interval.
Pyranometer – Measures solar radiation levels from the sun in watts per square meter (used to calculate ‘evapotranspiration’, the rate at which water evaporates from the soil).
UV Sensor – Measures UV rays from the sun. These sensors are used for precision growing in particular crops like cannabis, where overexposure to UV-rays can stunt leaf growth or affect potency.
Leaf Wetness Sensor – Measures surface moisture of the plants on a scale of 0-15 (dry to saturated). Data from these sensors are used in fungal disease control.
Soil Moisture Sensor – Measures water levels in the soil.
Soil Temperature Sensor – Monitors the soil temperature to detect freezing, or high temperatures that can put crops at risk. Also used to calculate rate of evapotranspiration.
These weather station equipment can provide growers with huge amounts of data. Luckily, farm management software can be linked to weather stations in order to process and present this information so that it is easy-to-read and actionable for the grower.
Cloud-based farm management platforms integrating with weather stations and remote data sensors allow users to aggregate their data with other real-time farm data such as soil data, weather data, and satellite data to establish more comprehensive insights about their operations.