Agriculture is already happening in space

Space technology will accelerate agro-environmental change. It still needs to be known (and enabled) to use satellite data.

On April 13, the first Space4agri Day will be held at Agropole d’Estillac. Actors from the world of agriculture and agro-food will explore the various solutions provided by space technology to improve the conduct of production activities and accelerate environmental change. The event is organized by Agropol, the National Center for Space Studies and Aerospace Valley (an aerospace industry competitive cluster). Thierry Chapuis, a CNS engineer responsible for the development of space technology applied in agriculture and forestry, will chair the unprecedented meeting.

What is the purpose of this Space4agri Day?

“This is a second meeting, following the first edition held near Lille, where specialized start-ups are involved in digital agriculture.

What kind of information is this?

“Satellites make it possible to observe the earth. In this way we get weather information, which is very important for agriculture. However, we can observe very small areas more precisely, and study how a crop behaves on a plot. There are, possibly thanks to the 100 satellites in distant orbit 20,000 km above us. There are four constellations with GPS (USA), Galileo (Europe), GLONASS (Russia) and Baidu (China) systems. This location makes it possible. Especially to guide a machine, like a tractor works in a field, but also a robot. “

Agricultural robot?

“Yes, small robots are confirming weeds, for example, in rows of vines or in gardens. There are also larger robots, adapted to field farming. It has started to sell well, for example Naïo technology robots or agrin robots culture, two located in Toulouse. Company. Other robots can sow seeds, or count lettuce trees. This is possible by terrain. “

What is the use of satellite in agriculture?

“Telecommunications. Take the example of a plot equipped with sensors: precipitation, soil temperature, relative humidity is the data sent from the field to the satellite, then found on the server. It makes it possible to study, for example, soil moisture, and thus better manage irrigation systems We can cite the French Keynes project for a star of nano-satellites to provide Internet of Things services. “

What is the purpose of this agriculture supported by more technology?

“The solutions provided by space are part of agro-ecological change, improved soil conservation, controlled irrigation, limitations of inputs, etc. Companies will be present at Agropol to explain the benefits. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions. It emits CO2 but also captures it through photosynthesis in plants, so we can strengthen this capturing power, and above all we can estimate the amount of carbon stored in the soil through space observations. Where more fertilizer is needed. This makes it possible to do optimal doses of inputs, which are more expensive and have a negative impact. Water tables and waterways. A satellite can also indicate plant health, evapo sweat on them, which conserves water. “

While these technologies sometimes require expensive equipment, not every producer will necessarily have a way …

“Co-operatives are well-organized, and have excellent technical relays. The cost of access is really high today, but Cuma makes it possible to build pool equipment. And then it will probably need public help to encourage agro-ecological change. But agriculture is changing. We will gain innovation experience, young people will be trained and informed about digital equipment. Ultimately, the idea is to involve the entire sector from quality food producers to processors with limited impact on the environment. “

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