Farmers benefit from satellite coverage to get best from their land
Globally available satellite data are fine-tuned to the needs of individual farmers by the Vista company in Germany, who combine optical satellite images with information from ground sensors, satnav and sophisticated crop growth models to enable precision farming on a local scale.
"Agriculture is becoming a data-driven business," explains Heike Bach, CEO at Vista Vista is one of 50 expert users evaluating data from the Sentinel-2A Earth observation satellite launched in June 2015 as part of the EU's Copernicus programme. "The data are excellent," she notes.
TalkingFields began as a project within ESA's Integrated Applications Promotion programme, and is now helping farmers in Germany, Russia, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, Hungary and Kazakhstan.
Vista and its partners recently won a gold award for innovation at the biennial international Agritechnica trade fair in Hannover. It is the first time this industry award has been given to smart farming relying on satellite data.
Vista works with agricultural suppliers to provide a tailored service. For instance, by optimising a farmer's use of fertiliser, costs and environmental effects can be reduced.
A farmer uses satnav to pinpoint the area of a field that requires attention and cultivate just that area. ■