Coronavirus increases demand for remote field monitoring

Remote field monitoring systems can help farmers keep an eye on their fields, while staying in quarantine.

With countries worldwide shutting down and implementing travel restrictions, remote field monitoring systems suddenly became an urgent solution for farmers. As a consequence of the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreaks, the world has changed drastically.

Billions of people around the world are urged or forced to stay home, including farmers. Remote field monitoring systems can help farmers monitor their fields, while staying in quarantine most of the time.

Reduce field visits to a minimum

Every trip to the field costs time and money, but under the current circumstances it can be impossible for a farmer to check all of his crops. Remote field monitoring systems allow to reduce field visits to a minimum. And demand for these systems is increasing.

Pessl Instruments is working with consultants all over the world, who travel to visit farmers throughout the year. One of their consultants, who is working with them in California, was traveling around 80,000 kilometers per year within a 150 kilometer radius. In a short period of time he reduced his road time by 70% and increased his business by 200%.

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Remote field monitoring technology has been around for 20 years, but always has been used by only a small percentage of farmers. But this now changes rapidly. It provides farmers with the opportunity to identify problems in a timely manner without visiting the field. - Photo: Pessl Instruments
Remote field monitoring technology has been around for 20 years, but always has been used by only a small percentage of farmers. But this now changes rapidly. It provides farmers with the opportunity to identify problems in a timely manner without visiting the field. - Photo: Pessl Instruments

Higher accuracy with remote field monitoring

Remote field monitoring technology has been around for 20 years, but always has been used by only a small percentage of farmers. But this now changes rapidly. It provides farmers with the opportunity to identify problems in a timely manner without visiting the field. It even provides higher accuracy than physical visits.

Remote monitoring is not a thing of the future

The farmer and his consultant can install weather stations which monitor the actual weather conditions in the field, and which will alert them when action needs to be taken. Farmers have access to real-time data, such as temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, soil moisture, wind, and so on.

Since the coronavirus outbreak we have seen an ever-increasing demand in remote monitoring technology. For example, a major tomato grower in the U.S. who already has over 300 soil moisture systems. He now wants systems that to monitor insects, phenology, nutrition and work force. A large tomato company from Turkey came with the same requests. This equipment will not only improve risk management, but at the same time protect their workers. The environment also benefits.

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The Pessl iSCOUT is an insect trap with integrated electronics (camera system, modem, power source with solar panel) and sticky plate. - Photo: Pessl Instruments
The Pessl iSCOUT is an insect trap with integrated electronics (camera system, modem, power source with solar panel) and sticky plate. - Photo: Pessl Instruments

No doubt the world will be a lot different after this corona crisis. Worldwide, there are tens of thousands of consultants, who up till now have been randomly visiting farmers.

It is my firm believe that remote monitoring will change that, accelerated by the coronavirus outbreak. That’s why we have developed special starter kits for consultants worldwide who want to explore this technology. Remote monitoring is not a thing of the future, it’s today’s technology. Now more than ever.

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