Friday, June 10, 2016

Bayer Wants to Use Super-Powered Satellites to Improve Farming

From Modern Farmer:

bayer satellite farming
Not an actual photo of a Bayer satellite. This is a stock satellite.
There's a growing movement to harness more modern technology in agriculture, whether it's learning from data science or implementing autonomous robots into the fields—both of which we saw at the recent AgBot Challenge. Unsurprisingly, the industry's mega-corporations want a piece of the action.
Case in point: Last week, Bayer announced plans to use cutting-edge space data to offer up tech-driven services to farmers. According to the announcement, Bayer will team up with Planetary Resources, a Washington-based aerospace company, to use its satellite imagery technology.

Bayer’s ultimate goals aren’t yet fully explained, as the news signals the start of a partnership that may eventually bear fruit via Bayer’s Digital Farming Initiative, but the company offered a couple of potential examples of what could come.

For instance, Bayer claims the satellites can tell you how much water your soil will retain, so farmers could save water by timing their irrigation systems, as well as get recommendations on when to plant or re-plant crops. Also, the technology could be used to finds problematic areas in the field and provide weekly reports to learn from. In both cases, Bayer would tap into Planetary Resources’ Ceres system of satellites, which uses infrared and hyperspectral imaging to monitor crops—what type they are, how old each plant is, and whether it needs nutrients—and the earth around them. Those high-tech sensors provide much more data than common drone footage can....MORE