Growing food is one of the core human occupations due to its determinant meaning for every one of us. Living in the highly urbanized society of the modern era, many may not completely realize their dependency on farming and fields. In 2050, just one generation from now, there will be 9.7 billion people on Earth. This figure means mankind will require 70% more food than it does currently. Meanwhile, the future shortage of water is predicted and it’s a challenge for agriculture and all of us, though we aren’t aware. There is no way to deal with it other than finding more efficient farming technologies.
Since ancient times to the Industrial Revolution to the present time people have struggled to get more yield from farming. From the very start, people have used animal husbandry and crop cultivation for both food and income. Using the development of agriculture machinery along with a scientific basis, farming has become a systematic industry and billion-investment business. Thus, it requires proper management.
Due to the complexity of modern agricultural holdings, cooperatives, and related trading systems, their operation depends on technological connectivity and the processing of big data. These include analyzing agriculture satellite imagery using special algorithms. The technology is proven to help increase productivity and significantly reduce costs. Nowadays, every family farm can use field monitoring from space to make data-driven decisions.
Observing the Earth with Benefits
Conventional farm management was enhanced by digital transformation decades ago, then comes the era of Earth Observing technologies. New software services collect imagery from satellites and terrestrial sources to create the most profound agriculture maps ever seen. These SaaS products utilize spatial and spectral analysis of satellite-derived data to provide accurate visualizations of arable lands, soil types, irrigation, crops, and their condition.
Remote satellite monitoring is the superior alternative to traditional collecting information on crops. It is fast and complete and no one has to ramble on the field. Computer vision processed with special algorithms can detect the crop growth stage and assess the canopy condition of huge areas on different mainlands in a click. It allows farmers to act immediately and save the harvest.
The further away, the more EOS tools become “intelligent” helpers, not just interactive maps for real-time field assessment. They would analyze the satellite imagery to alarm owners if something goes wrong with their fields.
Additionally, different agritech services embrace layers of weather recordings and other tracking data (e.g. in-field sensors) that enable field planning, “smart” grazing management, harvest forecasting, and other possibilities to improve yield. For example, the nutrition map of the land will prevent excess watering or fertilization, thus saving resources on growing.
For the first time in human history, this novel satellite precision agriculture makes growing crops a clear predictable task for any agribusiness stakeholder. The new approach helps reduce the costs of production compared to intuitive management. In the UK, the data-driven tactic brings farmers about 3-8% over their regular profit.
EOS-based software has the potential to sustainably leverage food production without additional territories, chemicals, or fertilizers. Thanks to the analytics of structured data sets, professionals get instant decision support on when to irrigate or harvest their crops, are there weeds or pest infestation, and how to arrange the crop parcels to gain more profit.
The more data-savvy farming means precision profit mapping which is crucial for successful entrepreneurship.
Foresee the Future by Satellite Constellations
Satellite data is already the base for official interactive maps of national agribanks from across the globe. Utilizing crop identification technology governments estimate the actual quantity of every crop type and its allocation. What is more important, the combination of historical field records and EOS data from multiple seasons provides data sets for generating the best models of agriculture development.
Up-to-date ML-based solutions offer precise crop/pasture management strategies, catchment models, field profiling, and yield forecasts hence in-season sales prognostication. This is what makes any family farm innovative right away. On a larger scale, stakeholders and officials can use crop spatial information and related data to predict global trends such as climate risks in order to enhance the long-term sustainability of the agriculture sector. In 15 years, there will emerge disruptive operational business models fully harnessing the capabilities of satellite constellations.
New uses of satellites in agriculture go far beyond looking at fields through visualization of spectral imagery. The innovative space technology provides decision-makers of any rate with incredibly detailed information that was previously unavailable.
Speaking of producing food as business, the benefits from utilizing EOS include:
- precision farming;
- closing the yield gap;
- on-farm monitoring;
- better timing of input applications;
- soil-less farming;
- field phenotyping;
- advanced breeding;
- greater resilience to adverse conditions;
- enhance soil fertility;
- increase pollinators;
- smart water use;
- forecasting consumer trends;
- accurate market outlook;
- post-harvest storage and monitoring tech development;
- new models for distribution;
- and many more.
These opportunities lead to the core transformation of traditional agricultural businesses and affect every market player from “small” farmers to international corporations to investment, insurance, and trading companies operating in the sector. What’s next?
In the Scientific Foresight Study on precision agriculture by the EU Parliament, satellite connectivity technology is named among the profound approaches of preventing future food supply constraints. The researchers mention EOS not only as optimizing commercial services for entrepreneurs but as the start of high-level automation and robotics in the industry. They also anticipate emerging new business models in the rural communities and the rise of the bioeconomy era.