Helping farmers manage their enterprises: weather and satellite APIs for agroservices

Helping farmers manage their enterprises: weather and satellite APIs for agroservices

Objectives:
As farms mainly consist of crop fields, which can be hundreds of acres in size, much time and resources are demanded of farmers in obtaining an accurate picture of the overall condition of these farms.
Drying out of plants or, conversely, an excess of moisture and a rise in the number of pests: these can all take their toll on the size and quality of the harvest and demand a rapid response. There are also such problems as the danger of overusing fertilizers, which poses a threat not only in terms of extra costs but also in that it is harmful to the environment and primarily to the health of farmers themselves.
To maximize harvests, constant monitoring is required throughout the season; and it is not easy finding the time to keep up with changes for each crop, not to mention monitoring the condition of every single acre. When deciding on long-term plans, a comparative analysis has to be carried out for both the usual course of the seasonal cycle and, in particular, any crises that have arisen.
To assess the current situation and to keep track of changes compared with preceding seasons and with the condition of neighboring fields, accurate information on both the past and the present is needed as well as future forecasts that are as precise as possible.

Solutions:
There are currently numerous services that help with managing farms for any acreage: checking boundaries and nutrient and moisture intake, monitoring the negative effects of weather conditions and diseases, and controlling pest numbers. And this can all be done without having to visit the fields, just by using a phone or tablet screen or a PC.

It is exactly to provide these services that OpenWeather offers a wide range of APIs for different weather and satellite data combined in the one product, Agro API, with universal and simple syntax.

NEW! Agro API - service for Agriculture

NEW! Agro API - service for Agriculture

OpenWeatherMap team are pleased to announce that we are launching a new product aimed primarily at specialists developing agricultural services and addressing the specific requirements of this sector. This product is also geared toward the insurance and banking sector and can be used as a farm rating tool.

As part of this product, we are providing an API for receiving weather data (current weather, forecasts and history), satellite data (current and historical) and weather and vegetation indices based upon this.  As well as the data we already provide in other products, here we have added specialized agricultural indices such as soil temperature and moisture, accumulated temperature, cumulative precipitation and satellite data*: images from space and vegetation indices (EVI and NDVI) based upon them. Weather data can be requested both for a particular point and for a polygon. Find out more here.
We are offering you the chance to try out our free package. All you have to do is set up a user account** and you will receive a personal API key.

We have also put together paid services as part of which the user is provided with a wider range of functions, which you can find out about here

* Currently, as part of the existing paid packages, we are providing data that is of the utmost relevance to agribusiness. Other territories can be added upon request.
** Users who are already registered can use their username and password for their new account

We look forward to your feedback and comments! We will be glad to answer any questions you might have.

Temperature and Soil Moisture. Their Interaction and Effect on Plant Growth

Temperature and Soil Moisture. Their Interaction and Effect on Plant Growth

Crop farming covers around 40% of the globe and uses 85% of its fresh water.
Often, in countries where agriculture constitutes the principal occupation of farmers, due to drought and overpopulation, they find themselves in a constant battle to maintain everyday resources such as food and water etc. In such cases, productivity and crop prices assume critical importance. And they, in turn, depend primarily on atmospheric factors and soil conditions.

Meteorological and Climate Indices for Assessing the Effects of Weather Events on Agriculture

Meteorological and Climate Indices for Assessing the Effects of Weather Events on Agriculture

During the entirety of their lifecycle, crops are affected by a whole range of factors, the greatest influence being exerted by weather events. These have a significant and occasionally decisive effect on the size, quality, and timeliness of a harvest and, consequently, on its value.
There exist a large number of indices for assessing this effect, including both direct measurements and the results of calculations.
Currently, the main source of information is complex weather models based on the mathematical processing of large amounts of data collected from tens of thousands of stations around the world as well as the data received from satellites.

UV-index as an indicator of UV radiation’s effect on improving productivity within agriculture

UV-index as an indicator of UV radiation’s effect on improving productivity within agriculture

Solar radiation is the main source of energy for all processes, which occur in the atmosphere and on the Earth’s surface. Its intensity has a profound impact on the chemical composition of plants, and subsequently, on the quality of agricultural crops. As to whether these changes – caused by an increase or decrease in the flux of UV radiation – are significant or insignificant or indeed constructive or harmful, depends on many factors.  

On the one hand, UV radiation favorably influences the life cycle of plants, it boosts the intensity of photosynthesis processes, facilitating the production of chlorophyll and nutrient absorption.  

On the other hand,  excessive UV exposure can cause protein degradation in leaf cells, leading them to die. Plants possess the ability to repair damaged DNA while several are able to protect themselves from synthesizing absorbed ultraviolet light pigment and from changes to key metabolic enzymes.    The danger occurs when the dose of radiation causes damage which exceeds a plant’s regeneration capabilities.   The damage leads to a decrease in crop yields, fertility, commercial quality and severe consequences, such as changes weed-crop synergies.

Using historical data to reduce losses caused by negative weather events

Using historical data to reduce losses caused by negative weather events

However rapid the pace at which technology evolves, more often than not, the surrounding reality remains the same. While one automobile is being launched into a heliocentric orbit, another is being dug out of a snowdrift with a trusty old shovel. And while the design of the shovel has changed many times in terms of style, high tech doesn’t change what essentially it is.
This is especially noticeable when we encounter climatic and meteorological phenomena which seriously complicate life and which can, in some cases, destroy it.
Unfortunately, at the present time, our influence over the weather is restricted predominantly to our polluting of the environment. Or otherwise to dispersing clouds over the city on public holidays.

Satellite and meteorological monitoring of agricultural conditions

Satellite and meteorological monitoring of agricultural conditions

The effect of quantities and distribution of precipitation on crop cultivation.

Precipitation is agriculture’s main source of moisture. This includes both wet and dry precipitation. Their quantity is one of the key meteorological factors in agricultural productivity.
But it is not simply a case of there being too little or too much precipitation. No less important is its spatial and temporal distribution which increases or decreases potential productivity. The optimal amount of precipitation varies both for different climatic regions and for different crops at various stages of their growth.
Let’s take the year that has passed, 2017, as an example:

India received a total of 841.3 millimeters of precipitation during the monsoon season from June 1 to September 30 that year.
But this monsoon was somewhat freakish. In some parts there was surplus rain, and in others it was insufficient. This cannot but lead to differences in crop productivity in different parts of the country.

Role of frozen precipitation in plant development. Accumulated precipitation data

Role of frozen precipitation in plant development. Accumulated precipitation data

A large amount of water is needed for normal plant development.The primary source of soil moisture is atmospheric precipitation.

Along with rain, solid precipitation in the form of snow that falls in the winter season exercises a significant influence on the agricultural cycle. Snow creates a snow cover that protects winter crops, perennial grasses and the root systems of fruit trees and small fruit plants against injury from frost. Furthermore, the snow cover provides a moisture reserve used by the plants in the spring and the first half of summer.

These moisture reserves accumulated in the soil before sowing contribute significantly to the development of all plants. Agricultural practice worldwide attests to the fact that the moisture accumulated during autumn and winter is a major factor limiting possibilities for un-irrigated agriculture. For example, deciding which areas to seed for wheat in arid districts often depends on the soil moisture content in the spring. If insufficient, fields designated for sowing wheat are used for crops that require less depth of moisture, or else are left fallow.

The role played by soil moisture in successful sowing varies considerably depending on the meteorological conditions during the growing season.

Very little dissipates in rainy seasons with lower air temperatures. On the other hand, plants survive largely at the expense of water in the soil during arid years, which normally dries up along the entire length of root development. In these situations, the autumn and winter water reserve from frozen precipitation is a primary source for providing plants with moisture, and field crops use up all these reserves completely in producing the harvest.

Given this situation, it’s difficult to overestimate a factor like precipitation accumulated over the winter. It’s possible to plan for field use for the upcoming season, decide which crops to plant and plan for the size of the harvest when you have data available on accumulated precipitation.

Accumulated precipitation data is calculated as the total precipitation for a given period, based on historical data.

Weather and pests. Accumulated temperature data for analysis of possible damage from pests

Weather and pests. Accumulated temperature data for analysis of possible damage from pests

Fields and gardens are complicated ecosystems in fact, and they are the perfect habitat for pests. Additionally to direct harm caused to plants by pests, many pest species can transmit viruses from one plant to another and hence spread diseases.  
Biology of living creatures is closely connected with weather. Organisms are dependent on seasonal cycles as well as on temporary fluctuations. Weather influences all living things primarily due to changes in temperature and humidity. Weather conditions can provoke a sharp increase in pest amount. For example, hot and dry weather gives rise to aphid, while slugs and snails thrive in relatively warm and wet conditions. Pest behavior is especially closely bound to temperature. Aftermath of non-seasonal changes in temperature (such as later than usual frosts or warmer summers) and its impact on pests is notorious for many centuries.  

The influence of temperature on plant productivity in agriculture. Accumulated temperature.

The influence of temperature on plant productivity in agriculture. Accumulated temperature.

Accumulated temperature is a weather parameter which directly influences productivity of agricultural plants. All biological and chemical processes taking place in the soil are connected with air temperature. Heat supply of crops is characterized by a sum of average daily air temperatures that are higher than a biological minimum during a vegetation period. Both too high and too low temperatures spoil a course of biochemical processes in cells, and irreversible changes can be caused that lead to a stop of growth and death of plants.