/ 22 June 2020

Press Release: Weather forecasts for agriculture: the technology opens up new possibilities

Pluviomètre connecté Weenat

What farmer has never dreamed of snapping his fingers to make it rain? Even if you can’t actually control the weather, Sun’Agri and Weenat explain how you can better manage weather hazards and their impact on your crops.

Make it rain or shine

Agriculture is all about the weather. Whether you’re planting, irrigating or applying phytosanitary measures, the weather affects every decision you make.

This is especially true in the case of agrivoltaics. If the season is too wet, both your agricultural yields and your energy production will be at risk.

The bad news is that we haven’t yet found a button on the remote control to make it rain, nor do we know how to make it stop or how to programme the temperature 10 days in advance.

On the other hand, thanks to advances in technology, the weather is becoming more manageable.

The agrivoltaic system developed by Sun’Agri, for example, helps to mitigate the risk of spring frost. Thanks to the adjustable positioning of the panels, the soil temperature can be maintained, with observed increases of up to 3°C.

In hot weather, the system protects plants against excessive temperatures, thus reducing evapotranspiration and the risk of water stress.

Connected sensors for plot-based management

Although it’s still not possible to change the weather, you can now measure it, predict it and adapt your crop strategy to the local agro-climatic conditions. Some companies, like Weenat, have even made this their speciality.

For more than six years, this Nantes-based company has been developing smart weather and precision agriculture solutions to support farmers in their decision-making, from sowing to harvesting.

To this end, Weenat has developed a range of six smart sensors, from agricultural rain gauges to leaf wetness sensors, anemometers and soil thermometers. Placed as close as possible to the crops, these sensors allow you to monitor the evolution of the agro-climatic conditions on your plots – rainfall, temperature, humidity, wind, etc. The data are then transferred to a web- and mobile-based application via a low-frequency wave network. This gives you real-time access to precise agronomic and meteorological data to help you manage your plots.

The collected data are stored in the application and can be accessed at any time via the plot history. How much has it rained since you last applied phytosanitary measures? What was the temperature like when you sowed your crops last year? The plot history gives you the answer to all these questions and more.

For even greater control over the management of weather hazards, the Weenat application also includes a 15-day expert weather forecast service and customised weather alerts so that you are ready to intervene at the right time.

AI at the service of weather forecasts for agriculture

In recent years, the use of algorithms and agronomic models to fine-tune the management of weather risks has become increasingly widespread in agriculture.

Algorithms are at the heart of the Sun’Agri technology, for example. Our AV Studio© software uses growth models tailored to the needs of each plant to control the orientation of the photovoltaic panels.

The Weenat application also includes several algorithms that assist you in your decision-making. The agro-meteorological data measured by the smart weather stations and the Weenat rain gauge can be transferred to more than twenty decision analysis tools.

Some of these models, such as Irré-Lis® or Vintel®, have been designed to control irrigation systems. Others, such as DeciTrait®, Mileos® or Avizio™, are aimed at accurately assessing disease risks in order to optimise your crop protection strategy.

“Decision analysis tools provide real added value in terms of optimising resources according to local weather and plant needs. But no matter how useful they may be, these tools do not replace the know-how and experience of the farmer”, says Jérôme Le Roy, founder of Weenat.

The Weephyt decision analysis tool provides information on
the best time to apply phytosanitary measures.