Agrometeorology: how can your crop get along with the weather?
Climate conditions influence crops. Agrometeorology – or agricultural meteorology – is the discipline that studies atmospheric conditions and impacts on production environments. Its target is to improve food harvests and other products, and to recognize strategies that help the product to have less environmental interference.
The idea, therefore, is to optimise land use and maximise production. How does one do this? It takes planning and good decision making. This is how your crop can get along with the weather and achieve even higher results than expected.
To better understand this subject, we will explain the relationship between agriculture and meteorology and the current scenario with the adoption of new technologies.
How does agrometeorology help crops get along with the weather?
Agrometeorology assesses the influence of climate on agriculture to optimise production and avoid losses due to torrential rain or a dry period. Thus, the relationship between weather conditions and planting, cultivation and harvest is studied to ensure a good harvest, and reduce risks and uncertainties.
The main meteorological aspects that influence the crop are:
- air and soil temperature;
- relative humidity;
- rain, hail, frost and wind occurrence;
- solar radiation.
By balancing all this data, the farmer makes better decisions and plans more appropriately. With this, it is also possible to define the best time for planting and harvesting, and the right time to apply pesticides and fertilisers to avoid losses and soil contamination.
The difference between meteorology and climatology
The study explained here requires an understanding of what meteorology and climatology are — the first analyses the physical phenomena of the atmosphere, which occur constantly and dynamically. Therefore, there is researches going on even when the air is apparently still.
The objective of meteorology is to anticipate atmospheric movements and consequences for crops and other segments of society. This is the case of too much rain, possible floods, earthquakes, droughts and other extreme situations.
In turn, climatology evaluates atmospheric phenomena in the medium and long terms. It looks like the same thing, right? The difference is that a significant time interval is expected — some researchers say it is necessary to wait 30 years.
Therefore, the surveys conducted in these cases evaluate the scenario over time, and signal trends for the coming years. For agriculture, this knowledge is important for the elaboration of agricultural planning.
This action aims to consider the climate variables and risks in order to make the correct decisions regarding the crop. It is important to highlight that the management of uncertainties, through planning, is essential to avoid losses and maximise the harvest.
How does agrometeorology work in the 4.0 agriculture context?
This science combines physical and biological aspects to verify the relationship between climatic elements, soil and living beings to determine the influence of phenomena on agricultural production and productivity. To be more efficient, new technologies are being added, those referring to agriculture 4.0.
Precision agrometeorology comes into play in this context, bringing innovation and technological tools to the field to increase productivity and the harvest. This target is achieved from geolocalized predictions, which are compared to data history.
Thus, this work considers soil, plant and atmosphere and identifies the variability of meteorological elements to determine:
- productive potential;
- water availability;
- irrigation management;
- forecast of harvests.
At the same time, the analysis is optimized and the flaws are understood. For you to have an idea, this union between technology and agricultural meteorology generates more research, with the development of artificial neurons that suggest the best management in precision agriculture.
The application simplifies and optimizes the agricultural system used in the field because it uses its own weather networks to make weather forecasts. This is by connecting to artificial intelligence algorithms, such as artificial neural networks.
With this technology, historical microclimate data are collected to indicate the best time to plant, irrigate, spray and harvest. The soil, climate, and culture patterns are identified to recommend the optimal management period through machine learning.
What is the importance of microclimate?
The aspects of agricultural meteorology are fundamental due to microclimates, meaning the grouping of phenomena in the air layer next to the crop or soil. In this location, different conditions are found because there is more friction near the surface, which generates implications for the linear and turbulent displacement of flows.
However, it is in this air layer that plants are developed. Thus, the more sensitive they are to the weather, the more they suffer damage caused by stressful conditions. This influence is significant at the time of vegetable growth.
After this step, the micro climatic condition changes and new factors are aggregated. Among the main ones are the ones we listed below.
Type of existing cover on the ground and its height
Growing or dead vegetation creates different microclimates, impacting the absorption of solar energy and the exchange of water and thermal flows. One example is growing vegetation, which passes more water vapour into the air than if the plants were dead.
The greater or lesser capacity to retain water is important because it creates more or less humid microenvironments. This is because of the calorific power of water.
Differences in the ground slope, even if minimal, contribute to the displacement of cold air to the lower places of the terrain. There are still impacts on the total solar energy that reaches the surface.
Understanding how microclimates form and their characteristics over time is fundamental to develop management strategies. Notice that there are constant exchanges and processes, which, when well manipulated, favour agricultural culture and the maximum use of natural resources — especially when the environment contemplated is more fragile.
In a way, agrometeorology is an indispensable science for farmers. Through it, it is possible to identify the best periods for planting, management and harvesting, as well as the region’s specific characteristics. Thus, the chance to optimize production and achieve better results grows significantly.
Do you now understand how the study of agricultural meteorology helps your crop? If you found this article interesting, share it with your social networks and help other producers optimize their harvest!