The Benefits of Agrometeorology
28th September 2016
The processes of Meteorological monitoring and agriculture productivity work concomitantly with one another, because every aspect of agricultural activity relies on the weather. Meteorological considerations must take place when analysing the growth and harvest of plants, as their development is a combined result of genetics and their response to the environment. The need for precise weather information is also more prevalent due to the impact of climate change, which is causing unpredictable meteorological patterns. Therefore, with the use of quantitative data, agrometeorological planning and research, agrometeorologists can ensure farmers meet the demands for food and agricultural by-products.
This type of methodology is called response farming which directly refers to farmers improving their profit by closely monitoring the weather and acting accordingly. There are numerous benefits which arise from taking this meteorological monitoring seriously. Farmers pay the most consideration to rainfall, as without rain famers produce can cease to grow and heavy rainfall can over expose and ruin crop. Therefore, by predicting the weather farmers can plant their produce after a drought and hose it with any available water. During rainfall they can cover their crop with plastic sheeting and postpone the sowing of other produce. In reflection of this, Gambia typically stores their groundnuts outside and if the pods get wet they are highly susceptible to develop aflatoxin, which can completely ruin crop; to avoid this happening farmers cover the nuts with plastic sheeting. More rigorous ways of accessing rainfall link to irrigation which involves taking water balance calculations, estimating the infiltration of water within crop, measuring evapotranspiration and soil moisture. In particular, soil moisture can be measured by using a Soil Moisture & Temperature Sensor and this helps to deduce whether the soil has enough water retained in it to help the crops grow.
Aside from the effects of rainfall, there are many other aspects of meteorology that affect agriculture. Wind and humidity can drastically affect crops through events such as forest fires and by observing these weather issues agriculturalists can control the burning and prevent the spread of fire. This in turn will allow for farming animals to graze on unharmed crops, providing more money to the economy. Moreover wind can also be measured in less endangering occurrences, such as strong gusts, and in such an event fixtures will need to be attached to crops to allow them to stay upright and not damage. Another basic practice which can be implemented into a farmers day to day routine is planting crops near shady areas, such as large trees, and by doing so they can ensure their plants are not overly exposed to sunlight and grow to their full capacity. Therefore, by applying this rationale to farming, farmers can increase yield and produce larger, quality harvests.