US: Ever since it has entered the agriculture sector, the pharmaceuticals company, Bayer is using cutting-edge space data to offer tech-driven services to farmers. The company, last week announced to team up with Planetary Resources to use its satellite imagery technology for the same.
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.
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.
Given the cost of the technology and the on-demand satellite imagery, these features might seem out of reach for the average farmer—and maybe they will be in the short term, whenever Bayer gets its services up and running. However, the more these technologies become the norm in agriculture, the more approachable and affordable they could become. Ostensibly, by using satellite imagery, farmers could see higher yields and save money by avoiding wasted resources.