Though you might not think it at first glance, this is one of the most advanced industries in the country. look past the greenery and you will find a highly technological business where margins are tight, deadlines critical and global competition fierce. today the farmers best friend is data, this is why agriculture increasingly relies on space. satellite imagery gives farmers a bigger picture so they can understand the layout and composition of their land and optimize planting.

Global Positioning satellites allow farm vehicles to drive the same route autonomously saving fuel and preventing the soil from being needlessly compacted. satellite instruments can monitor the health of crops over wide areas, letting farmers know which plants need nutrients or pest protection. farmers then use this information linking sprayers to GPS to deliver precise amounts of chemicals only where they’re needed. this is better for the ecosystem and cuts production costs. from localized weather reports to soil mapping and crop health modern farming requires huge amounts of data thanks to a new generation of satellites, that vast quantity of information is continuously cascading down to earth remarkably much of it is free.

Launched by the european space agency, the sentinel satellites are part of the biggest earth observation constellation in history called the Copernicus program. each Sentinel satellite will beam down up to 1.7 terabytes of data every day, that’s equivalent to over 200 movies on DVD. much of this information can be accessed at no cost via the online data tools. this includes land management imagery from sentinel – that is refreshed every few days allowing near real-time changes in the landscape to be observed, all this data presents a unique opportunity to farmers to get the best from satellites to operate their farm’s machines together for best value.

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