Our modern world is increasingly driven by “big data” and specific data driven insights, and this is proving especially valuable in farming. Farmers are increasingly using precise weather forecasts and climate models to help them anticipate problems and adjust accordingly.
The international partnership programme (IPP) is programme run by the UK Space Agency that utilises their knowledge and statistics to help promote benefits in many sectors, foremost of which is agriculture. The £152m project provides three main services to aid the agricultural industry. These include risk assessment of crop health, forecasts of agricultural productivity and weather predictions, providing producers with a plethora of information about their crops.
Satellites can help increase productivity of crops such as sugarcane and wheat by identifying problems that cause crops to drop below their expected yield levels. They can also help increase efficiency in a growing system by providing information to farmers to help their crop planting and maintenance systems.
Satellite data can also be used to make crops more resilient to weather and climate conditions across the globe by helping to reduce water input, identify suitable locations to plant and improve sustainability of current crops. This is particularly useful for coffee and grape growers, where the targeted geographical monitoring of weather forecasts can help to improve quality and quantity of their yields. Grapes are especially vulnerable to frost and usually must be protected by round the clock vigilance from growers and networks of fires throughout the vineyards that are lit if the temperature looks to be falling too low. This is both expensive and labour intensive and could be eased with this kind of focused weather forecasts.
The Agency also creates simulations using Earth Observation (EO) data that can help governments and farmers with planning, harvesting, logistics and help to create resilient food systems. They do this by allowing agents to know where and when to plant or harvest, and providing data to governments on key investments for agriculture. It can also help businesses looking for accurate models to show clients the impact of their agronomic or purchasing decisions.
This data, and the improvements to agriculture it enables, is especially important in the current world climate. With global warming causing more unpredictable weather patterns, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maximise food growth to feed the spiralling world population. This is especially clear in less developed countries where large populations are demanding a massive rethink of agricultural strategies. It also has a global impact on food commodities as we enter an even more globalised economy.
This article was written by Prestige Purchasing, a Foodservice and Hospitality procurement consultancy. We run bespoke, client-funded supply chain reviews and procurement projects for leading out-of-home eating businesses. No aggregation or supplier income. No share of savings. Food purchasing without the funny business.