A UK-wide network of connected weather stations is being developed in a joint venture between Sencrop and Frontier Agriculture, with the aim of helping farmers and agronomists to make informed crop management decisions.
The project, managed by Frontier, will see the installation of 480 weather stations across 240 sites and will give farmers access to data from their own and other connected stations. Dr Paul Fogg, Frontier’s crop production technical lead, said that the information will help build a picture of developing weather and improve forecasting.
He said: “Agriculture is directly linked to the vagaries of the weather, and smart use of weather data to drive decision support tools will become increasingly important. Integrated pest management and evidence-supported decisions will become a prerequisite for a ‘licence to operate’.”
The data produced will also allow for disease modelling, supporting farmers in tackling issues, such as barley yellow dwarf virus or blight. A feature for blight and cercospora monitoring has been developed in Sencrop’s app.
Dr Fogg continued: “These tools provide earlier disease insight and that’s important for the farmers our agronomists advise. This new weather station initiative complements existing Frontier insight and the analytical tools provided via our online farm management platform, MyFarm. Earlier insight means our agronomists can help farmers improve the quality of decisions in relation to disease intervention.”
An additional feature of the app is a range of up to seven forecasting providers which allows users to compare models in one place.
The weather stations are supplied without charge in order to encourage the network to grow, and those with Sencrop stations already installed are able to join the network. Martin Ducroquet, co-founder of Sencrop, said: “We now have nearly 2,000 stations installed across the UK and globally, there are more than 25,000 connected. The more data generated and shared, the more powerful the tool becomes.”
With the UK as a key agricultural country, Frontier is at the forefront of precision farming, added Mr Ducroquet.
“With Frontier, we share the same view of how key local and collaborative data will foster precision farming and enable the company to build a strong services strategy to better advise its growers.
“Thanks to our leading micro-climate platform, we want to empower Frontier’s agronomists and farming customers to make better decisions and reduce crop risks, with a positive agro-environmental footprint.”