Article

Climate smart agriculture

Farmneed from Express WeatherExpress Weather has developed a decision support system called Farmneed that quantifies weather risk in agriculture.

The innovative application is device agnostic and delivers bespoke content on weather and early warning for disease and pest infestation. It also provides on-demand guidance on crop protection, agri input management and soil management based on location, crop and field conditions.

Farmneed has been developed through multidimensional research related to crop and weather relationship including disease infestation and agri input management. The interactive platform easily connects a farmer or grower with other stakeholders in the agriculture value chain.

Angshujyoti Das, Express WeatherAngshujyoti Das, founder of Express Weather, explains:

“Agriculture in developing and under developed nations is mainly rain fed, so to determine the exact time for sowing seed, it is important to consider rainfall. During the early stages seed germination and crop establishment requires adequate water, but excess rainfall is as harmful as insufficient water.

“Humidity can also increase the risk of disease and pest infestation. By mapping weather parameters against germination possibilities helps to identify the level of risk.

“Armed with the above knowledge of disease related risk it is possible to determine the right application of pesticide.

“Farmneed changes a schedule-based pesticide application programme to one that is need-driven. This helps to reduce cost, waste and contamination of water supplies.

“Mapping water availability is also important for fertilizers that have a water soluble component. Rainfall is a key trigger for fertilizer application.

“A smart irrigation system is also possible if you can map soil conditions against rainfall. Rainfall after irrigation may cause excess water, and an accurate forecast can prevent loss of both energy and water.”

Farmneed promotes “climate-smart agriculture” for the whole agri-food chain, from individual growers, farming groups and agri input companies to agri funding agencies, insurers and even researchers and academics.

The simple registration system works on basic inputs: personal information, location information (geo tagging), crop and plot level information. Based on this one-time input, the system gets activated automatically to deliver bespoke content covering the following key areas:

  • Crop protection
  • Crop management
  • Agri input management
  • Soil and water management
  • Overall sustainable practice in agriculture
  • Rural employment generation

Das got the idea for Farmneed when he was working on a project on sustainable tourism in West Bengal, India. He wanted to gain historical wind data for the location and found that such data was only available though an American agency

“India is a big agriculture economy that lacks quality weather data,” says Das.

“I evaluated the technical feasibility of generating quality weather forecasts for Indian grain population. As farmers in India are unfamiliar with standalone weather data, I realised that it would be more meaningful if the implications of weather data on their crop was available to them.”

Farmneed - climate smart agricultureTo ensure the accuracy of their guidance, Express Weather has collaborated with centres of excellence in India, who have provided weather related risk knowledge during life cycle stages of particular crops.

Das is looking forward to showcasing the Farmneed platform at REAP: “The technology and the platform is a good fit for Europe but it requires some customization based on local context. We would like to gather primary information on local level challenges, market, available technology etc. Identifying funding scope would also be an important agenda.

“We are keen to find a knowledge partner, who should have readily available research data on crop weather relationship.”

Find out more about Farmneed at www.farmneed.com

For more information about Express Weather visit www.expressweather.in

Find out more about REAP here.

REAP 2017