The future for the agri sector will see farmers using satellite data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create a new world of precision farming and reach sustainable agriculture goals.

Precision farming will not only assist farmers but will also help protect food security and stop the denigration of our lands and waters.

An event being hosted by CeADAR, Ireland’s National Centre for Applied AI, on March 11 will demonstrate how farmers can use data from satellites to observe large tracts of land.

It can provide precise information — such as the lifecycle of crops, crop biomass, and soil moisture — otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Satellite data also makes it possible to monitor changes in the land on a continuous basis.

Early- and mid-season crop information is essential to promote agricultural and environmental sustainability as well as mitigate and decrease global and regional food security threats.

The virtual event will focus on how actionable information for farmers in Canada is already being retrieved from satellites in a collaboration between the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Space Agency.

Speaking at the event is Dr Saeid Homayouni an associate professor in environmental remote sensing and geomatics at the Centre for Water, Earth and Environment, at the National Scientific Research Institute (INRS) in Quebec.   He says:

“Some companies have already developed apps where farmers can go into the field and make real-time decisions based on information they are getting from satellites. The R&D that is being developed is all leading towards the concept of precision agriculture. This allows farmers to react to issues on their land and use less pesticide or fertiliser or use them in a more intelligent way.

“With the open policy across several national space agencies, we already have access to high-quality Earth Observations. The algorithms we have developed are very efficient and we can give this information to the companies to develop apps which will help the farmer. The ultimate goal is to have something universal that can be used no matter where you are in the world and I don’t think we are very far away from that point.

“Research is showing that as a result of the growth in the world population, we will have food problems in coming years. The role of the scientist and decision maker is to plan and provide the effective approach to guarantee the food security of the planet and minimise the risk of food shortages for future generations as well as protecting our land and waters. We need to provide the best solutions for a very critical issue.”

The event, called Potential Applications of RADARSAT Constellation Mission (RCM). will be held online on March 11 at 3pm Irish time. Click here to register.

Associate Professor of Environmental Remote Sensing & Geomatics at the Centre for Water, Earth, and Environment, INRS-Quebec