Among the tools that notably improve the performance of the equipment and its efficiency in field work, are those related to what is called precision farming.
And in this, each specialist has his vision, as is the case of Fernando Scaramuzza, coordinator of precision agriculture and agricultural mechanization of INTA, based in the experimental station that the institution has in Manfredi.
The specialist points out that “as we know, machines work more and more connected to platforms, to which they send information, and they also receive other information prepared from those same platforms, which they apply to self-regulate.”
But, in addition, now it happens that to the data that we have in the cloud, as a result of the field work already carried out, others are being added.
These are the product of other tasks carried out, but in addition to the evolution that is happening in the different satellites, with which the platforms usually work.
From each cabin, digital agriculture allows dialogue with the platforms and with other teams.
And one of the points that are evolving, and that are generating notable improvements in agriculture, are the optics used by those satellites.
As a result of these improvements, the use of different Indices and with the layers of information that are added, it is possible to obtain diagnoses about the plants and their state of health, much more accurate than before.
And this is part of what is happening in the field, which improves decision-making with which not only productive efficiency is built, but also more respectful management of the environment that makes the sustainability of production processes, explains Scaramuzza .
That is, the information that is generated from the platforms and that allows a diagnosis to be made in order to make more accurate decisions, is turned to fertilization, sowing, spraying and other mechanized tasks in the field.
To the indices that satellites already used in their measurements, such as the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), which is one of the most commonly used methods for monitoring the percentage of green coverage in an area, others are being used, more and more assiduously.
Precision agriculture uses these indices to improve the interpretation of a satellite image. Thus, the culture is understood more fully and better, with which we can evolve in the diagnoses, explains the expert.
Among these indices, there are those that they value the percentage of vegetation cover and therefore the amount of biomass present in an image, the leaf index, and it’s possible differentiate between plants under stress from others that are not.
A vegetation index is a value calculated based on the transformation of multispectral band observations.
This is used to enhance the presence of green elements, of the vegetation of its chlorophyll content, and therefore help to distinguish them from other elements present in the image.
Since they measure relationships between values, they are indices that nor change with lighting conditions, terrain slope, seasons, etc. and therefore are suitable for the crop monitoring throughout the growing season.
Diagnostics from on high improve decisions.
And to be clearer, the engineer reaffirms that “it is like having an X-ray and then evolving towards ultrasound, logically with an ultrasound machine where you can see deeper questions about the health of the body, reaching the analysis of vital organs. That is, we arrived at a more accurate diagnosis from more information.
On the other hand, we see how some elements of precision agriculture are transformed into basic equipment in agricultural machinery, such as those that interact a lot through the applied telemetry.
This is what allows direct dialogue with the machine from a Smart phone, or from a Tablet or from a computer, being able to set functions remotely. And communication is unlimited in distance as long as you have the necessary connectivity.
And to all this is added the use of artificial intelligence through cameras that can read and differentiate elements, such as seeds in a combine, which allows, for example, to improve the threshing process.
In performance monitoring, these read and control items such as the cameras in the machines and the optics of the satellites, they can be accurately measuring the weight carried by a hopper and the performance monitor can be fed back, making it self-calibrate.
And this makes the reliability of the information in the elaboration of a yield map.
Other elements that are developed around precision agriculture are the sensors as used in directed sprays and electric harrows, the care of the buffer or peri-urban areas as we call them, the certification, the traceability of those applications that are already agreed with the municipalities in such a way as to be able to carry out much safer applications.
With the applications of phytosanitary and fertilizers through the application of the PWM valves – pulse width modulation- it accelerates and becomes more precise the control of gout, its size and dose variation.
That is to say, there are countless technologies developed specifically for environmental care and for the care of society, which are a reality based on the resources offered by precision agriculture, explains Scaramuzza.