The “Crop growth” is affected mainly by “Internal” and “External” factors. The internal factors are controlled by genetics of the plants. While the lion’s share of the external factors which most affect the crop growth consist of “Climatic” and “Edaphic (Soil)” factors. According to an estimate nearly 50% of crop yield is attributed to the influence of “Climatic factors” only.
The climatic factors further consist of some sub factors:
While the edaphic factors consist of:
In past it has been a big challenge to have an accurate weather prediction for an agriculture farm. The destructive rains, floods, acute temperature and winds have caused widespread losses in agriculture. The weather predictions of Metrological department have not been very accurate always. That is why the farmers have had to bear the losses ultimately. Nowadays, the weather stations at a farm level are becoming an efficient tool to monitor the daily fluctuations in the weather. A variety of weather stations are available according to the number of parameters to be measured, work precision and range. Some of the parameters that weather stations measure include:
- Air and soil Temperature
- Relative humidity
- Soil moisture
- Wind velocity and direction
- Solar radiation
All of these weather components can be used for specific field operations such as irrigation scheduling, finding out right time for fertilizer or spray application, sowing and harvesting of the crop. The weather stations have helped to take the precautionary measures against the destructive rains, winds, severe high or low temperature, diseases and pests. The use of weather stations helps to cope with the frost and high temperature in summer. The weather stations equipped with multiple disease and insect models and sensors, send an alert to mobile phone before the occurrence of disease or pest attack. The modern weather stations can be equipped with a variety of sensors and models (Insect and disease) as much as someone wants.
A complete Metos weather station
The weather stations along with Soil Moisture Sensors have helped to monitor the soil moisture, temperature and pH (percentage of hydroxyl ions) of the soil. This will ultimately be helpful to define right time for the sowing of a crop by knowing the temperature and moisture of the soil. This is especially important for sowing in rainfed areas where the soil moisture and rainfall are a critical factor. The use of weather stations and moisture sensors would also help to apply the right amount of water and right time of fertilizer application to the plants.
If the two uncontrolled factors (climatic and edaphic) are monitored properly then this may help to decrease the role of environment in reducing the yield. The weather stations have made the life easier. The farmer does not need to go to field and observe the water requirement or to see the insect and disease attack. But, instead the weather stations send alerts to farmer’s mobile phone. Nowadays when there is a lot of discussion about climate change. Weather station is not less than a blessing to cope with uncertain weather in changing climate.
Why to Use Weather Stations?
- A good weather station can be helpful to properly plan farm operations.
- It can help to define the right time of sowing and harvesting by forecasting the soil and air moisture, temperature and rainfall.
- It can be helpful in the following farm operations:
I)When to irrigate the crop and how much to irrigate?
II) When to apply fertilizer?
III) When to spray?
- It also helps to take measures against frost.
- It can help to decide the time of transportation and storage of food grains.
- It helps in management of cultural operations like ploughing, harrowing and hoeing etc.
- It may help to define right time of land preparation for sowing a crop.
- It may forecast the onset of disease and insect attack through insect and disease models.
- It helps to take measures to protect livestock against rains and hailing.