UK: Rezatec, a leading provider of geospatial data analytics, has launched a free smartphone app which acts as a portal for farmers to record their agricultural activities and provides recommendations for optimal sowing and irrigation scheduling. Based on preliminary results from the experimental stations, the app has demonstrated the potential to increase wheat yields by up to 12%.
COMPASS v2.0 provides decisions based on Earth observation satellite data, in-situ field data captured by farmers, and a sophisticated crop model, to identify factors that might cause lower crop performance. In the Yaqui Valley in Mexico, a region that relies on irrigation due to varying climatic conditions, water security is a serious challenge. With general circulation models predicting less water availability in the future, farmers must be very precise in their irrigation management. The technology will track crop growth performance allowing farmers to make more informed decisions about crop management.
“Yaqui Valley farmers are very experienced farmers; however, they can also benefit by using an app that is designed locally to inform and record their decisions,” explains Francelino Rodrigues, Precision Agriculture Scientist at CIMMYT. “Sowing and irrigation timing are well-known drivers of yield potential in that region – these are two features of the app we’re about to validate during this next season.”
The COMPASS project, led by Rezatec and part-funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, is a collaboration between international scientists, businesses, farmers and agriculturalists, aimed at finding ways to use satellite data to better manage factors that cause the yield gap between crop potential and actual field performance in South America. Rezatec provides geospatial data analysis and the underlying technical platform upon which the project is based.
In October 2019, the UK Space Agency awarded additional funding to increase the scope of the project to include the crop maize, and to expand into Argentina.
“Extending the project to Argentina enables us to provide our innovative satellite-derived tools to even more farmers to enable them to make really critical decisions based on new insights about their crops and land that they previously didn’t have access to”, explained Dr Andrew Carrel, Chief Technology Officer at Rezatec.
Mexican COMPASS is a four-year project funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP). It is a collaboration between Rezatec, the University of Nottingham and Booker Tate in the UK; the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the Colegio de Postgraduados (COLPOS) in Mexico and Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) in Argentina.
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