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  • Team ThinkAg

Weather in Agriculture: Accuracy Promotes Success

Weather plays an important role in agricultural production; it influences the entire crop spectrum from pre-sowing to post-harvest. The weather affects the incidence of pests, diseases, water needs, and fertilizer requirements of the crop. All the intercultural operations like fertilizer and insecticide / pesticide / herbicide applications, nutrient mobilization, and water stress management required clear weather conditions to carry out in situ farm activities/agricultural practices.

The importance of weather predictability for agriculture and the allied sector has been highlighted this year as unseasonal rains and hailstorms have damaged rabi crops at the ripening, maturity, and harvesting stages in northern, central, and western plains, exposing thousands of farmers to losses and raising the risk of further food price inflation due to low production. A sudden rise in maximum temperatures hit the wheat crop earlier and last year heatwave cut the country's wheat productivity, and quality; forcing India to impose ban to control local prices, already driven higher by limited supplies due to war in Ukraine.

Farmers & agribusinesses rely on publicly available weather data and often find that the forecasts made by these sources don’t match up with what they see in their fields, especially when severe weather strikes unexpectedly.

With all these potential direct and indirect effects of meteorological conditions, agri producers should plan ahead of time and count on accurate & dependable data. Therefore, they should use weather forecasts that are carefully compiled, specifically for their fields like now-cast, short-range, medium-range, and long-range forecasts developed by synoptic, statistical, numerical, modeling methods and using data from weather stations, RADAR, weather sensors, and satellites data and by considering local geographical extent.

Accuracy and Hyperlocal of Weather data in Crop Monitoring

In order to provide accurate meteorological forecasts for players in the agriculture industry, Skymet achieves precision by issuing now-casts, long-range weather forecasts, medium-range forecasts, short-range forecasts, weather alerts, and live weather data.

  • Data received through the network of more than 7500 AWS spread across the length & breadth of the country

  • Satellite data that provide hyperlocal data

  • 100 years of historical data

  • Advanced data processing algorithm

  • Merging results from several prediction models to produce the most reliable information

The breadth of indications provided by shared-resource agricultural weather assessments is often insufficient for agronomist needs. Agriculturally relevant variables include the sum of active temperatures, hourly precipitation, and cloud cover percentages however, these parameters are not present on every resource. Additionally, the availability of these criteria does not guarantee their precision and is finally dependent on the model used to extrapolate data from weather stations. Data accuracy decreases as model resolution decreases, Skymet Weather Monitoring model is extremely accurate as it uses 100 years of historical data whereas most open-source tools only refer to the present metrics.

Using Skymet Weather API allows farmers to monitor important indicators of current climate conditions of their fields including temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed & direction, and cloud cover.

The API provides highly reliable agricultural weather reports since it compiles data from multiple sources, not just the closest to the field in question. The analytics are based on complicated algorithms that choose the most relevant resources among satellites, sensors, and meteorological stations. Further, the algorithm analyzes local topographic peculiarities and uses adiabatic corrections for elevation discrepancies between the stations and the area of interest. Applied techniques give the highest data for precision agriculture.

How Weather Impacts Decision - Making in Agriculture

  • Crop & Seed selection/cropping pattern

  • Sowing Schedule

  • Pest or Disease Infestation

  • Irrigation Cycle/scheduling

  • Fertilizer application

  • Harvesting Schedule

  • Machine use/buying

  • Yield

  • Price Fluctuations

How Skymet Solutions can help

Skymet can help to develop sustainable and economically viable agricultural systems, improve production and quality, reduce losses and risks, decrease production costs, increase efficiency in the use of water, labor, and energy, conserve natural resources, and decrease pollution by agricultural chemicals or other agents that contribute to the degradation of the environment.

Skymet monitors the effect of weather on crop health at different stages from pre-sowing till harvesting (biotic & abiotic stress), Crop yield forecasting by Survey CCE - based (Crop Cutting Experiments) and Crop simulation modeling DSSAT. This enables us to offer following solutions to agri input companies:

  • Seasonal Planning – The long-term weather advisory provides predictability over 6 months horizon. Precise information on weather parameters at the district/state level for the season can offer agri-input companies’ insights of overall demand for their products at regional, state, and national levels as well as product-wise demand patterns. This information is critical for agri-input players to align their manufacturing.

  • Supply Chain Optimization – Skymet’s medium-term forecasts (14 days) provide information, in quantitative terms, about the levels of precipitation, temperatures, and humidity over the coming 2 weeks period including forewarning of hazardous weather events like cyclones, hailstorms, heat/cold waves, drought, and flood, etc. These offer vital insights into likely major pests or disease attacks on major crops and help companies in optimizing supply chains and maintain appropriate stocks at warehouses and their dispatches to the retailers.

  • Develop Farm Advisory Solutions - One critical way for agri input companies to capitalize on business opportunities and increase revenues is to build the capacity and skills of farmers. Farmers who grow and expand their on-farm operations will not only be more valuable clients but also will help raise awareness in their communities.

Farm advisory apps educate farmers about agronomy practices that can reduce cost and increase yield for farmers, mitigating risks posed by unpredictable weather. Timely advice can help farmers’ challenges of low germination rates, input wastage, and pest or disease occurrence will earn farmer loyalty for all agri-input companies.

  • Building Long-Term Product Development Plans - The climate challenge exposed agriculture to extreme vulnerabilities, its negative impacts are already being felt, in the form of increasing temperatures, weather variability, shifting agroecosystem boundaries, invasive crops & pests, and more frequent extreme weather events. On farms, climate change is reducing the productivity, yield & nutritional quality of major crops.

Seed companies need to develop varieties that can withstand extreme weather events, and remain immune to new pests & diseases, and agro chemical companies need information on likely pests or disease attacks over the long-term horizon and draw patterns based on historical weather data.

Skymet has over 100 years of historical weather data which helps draw future weather patterns and how it is going to change the demand for products in the industry.

  • Bundling Agri Inputs with Weather Index Insurance & Finance - Access to financial services is challenging for small farmers, insurance when it is bundled with credit has the potential to address the issues of farmers in access to finance for purchasing agri inputs and securing them from distress in case of unforeseen weather events.

It presents the conditions under which linking insurance with credit can be beneficial for small farmers who cannot access agricultural credit due to a lack of collateral. If crop insurance and agricultural loans are bundled, the demand for crop insurance increases with the profitability of the investment made through the agricultural credit, and it decreases with the level of collateral required during the application for credit.

Skymet’s Village Level Risk Index measures the impact of severe events such as cyclones/ floods/droughts, etc, and identifies the underlying risks before underwriting.

Skymet’s - Crop & Land Monitoring Solutions, financing institutions can verify the farmers’ land ownership status, existing loans, crop type & health, and expected yield. It is a complete decision support system that enables loan verification instantly.

Agri input companies can utilize these solutions to build comprehensive weather indexed financing backed by insurance to strengthen farmers and win their trust.

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