Short-Term Decision Support

Short-term decision support enables the farmer to make the best decision for his crop on a daily basis. Main driver for the short-term decision support is the hyper-local weather forecast, typically for 48 to 72 hours in advance. The farmer shall not have to interact with the decision support system every day; instead he shall be notified in case any actions or adaptions to his application schedule are necessary.

Short-Term DSShort-term decision support shall take the short-term weather forecast into account and derive optimal decisions based on weather for the following three inputs:

  • Water
  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticides

Water is in many regions already a scarce resource. The short-term decision support system shall evaluate the current measurements from soil moisture and the weather forecast to predict soil moisture for the next few days. Based on optimal soil moisture or soil water tension for the crop, the system shall evaluate the need for irrigation taking into account the forecast for precipitation. The risk shall be evaluated of the soil moisture dropping below a critical threshold, which might be harmful for a crop and hinder its growth. The decision support system may allow for a limited time for the soil moisture to drop below a given threshold to avoid spending too much money on energy for pumps and water.

Fertilizer leaching is one of the big challenges in SE Asia. Due to low-resolution weather forecast and small rain cells, as well as heavy rain, fertilizer might be washed away right after it has been applied. The short-term decision support system shall evaluate the risk of leaching fertilizer and make recommendations when best to apply to avoid leaching. The main component to be taken into account is heavy rain, while the crop model shall be evaluated to understand the impact of shifting the application date.

Pesticides are usually sprayed in small droplets. The weather has a large impact on how effective spraying pesticides might be. Temperature and humidity indicate how fast the droplets will evaporate. If they evaporate easily due to high temperature and low humidity, there is a high risk in pesticides being ineffective. Similar challenges are presented to the grower when it comes to wind and precipitation. Ideally pesticides are sprayed when there is a light breeze and there is no precipitation following the spraying. The decision support system shall calculate the risk of spraying being ineffective and make recommendations based on a risk index.