Feature JULY 2018 www.irishfarmersmonthly.com Jim O’Mahony, Crops & Horticulture Specialist, looks at new technologies that can make crop management more e cient. Automatic weather station now a reality The weather drives crop production. It dictates soil conditions, nutrient availability, plant growth and development, timing and feasibility of field operations, as well as harvest operations and quality attained. The merging of radical new communications technologies such as the internet, smart phones and global positioning with smart devices and agricultural scientific developments means that what was ‘nice to know’ information a few years ago can now be used to manage crop production more intelligently. While details of these technologies is complex, the everyday use of the technology is simple. Apps for your smart phone can intelligently transform complex scientific data into usable information for best practice crop production. Moreover, this technology is facilitating integrated pest management (IPM) enabling reductions in chemical inputs while maintaining/improving yield and quality. Lemken weather station 16 Lemken, the multinational agricultural machinery company, is diversifying into providing devices such as weather stations which can be useful decisionsupport devices in crop production. I attended the Lemken Dealer press launch in Dublin last May and a demonstration by Derek Delahunty of Lemken Ireland at the Agricultural Science Association Open Day on O’Shea Farms Piltown Co Kilkenny last month. The weather station is simply a robust pole, one metre in length, but with all the essential parts contained in the device. An app on your smart phone provides the communications software to download the data. The data is uploaded every 30 minutes from the weather station to the app on your mobile phone. You can also call up retrospective data for the past year. The app also calculates the dew point and leaf wetness from data measured by the weather station. It displays data on wind speed and direction as well as precipitation, reliably provided hourly by the official meteorological service. Irradiation values from the geostationary meteorological satellite Resolution 3km² and weather radar devices is updated every fifteen minutes. Lemken have linked up with a specialist company AppsforAgri providing experts in app development, SmartFarm sensors and weather-data. Iljan Schouten, Head of Business Unit Crop Care at Lemken, commented: “Your fields have started talking, are you ready to listen? Think of Lemken weather stations as the voice of your fields and crops and listen to them to make the right decisions.” Crop protection module Erno Bouma, author of the book ‘Weather and Plant Protection’ made a presentation on crop