How do you understand whether it has rained on a field and how much? The weather forecast, even when it is local, gives us only a general idea. Public weather stations are usually situated in big cities or at airports. And rain is the most uneven weather element – every farmer has seen rain in the farmyard and no sign of it in a field, just 1-2 miles away.
Some farmers place rain gauges or simple plastic vessels collecting rainwater in their fields. In order to measure the rainfall before the water has evaporated, and to be able to tell when exactly it rained, farmers need to check these vessels regularly, which wastes a lot of their time. Moreover, it is necessary to keep these manual records without any gaps or omissions, in order to be able to make informed agronomic decisions.
To save you time and make your everyday work easier, we created Meteobot® Mini – an electronic rain gauge, which gives you real-time information about the rain – precisely in your point of interest – your field, vineyard, orchard, etc. Meteobot® Mini is compact-sized, which makes it very suitable to install in the field – among the plants or attached to electric poles. It is no longer necessary to travel kilometers to a field to check if it is muddy and whether the machines can work there. This automatic rain gauge helps you decide much easier whether it is suitable for seeding, fertilizing or cultivation. Your heavy machinery does not need to travel, sometimes many kilometers, only for the operator to see, that he will not be able to work.
Apart from the information about the quantity of rainfall, Meteobot® gives you details about intensity (litres / hour). If the rain is intensive, it is more difficult for water to get absorbed by the soil and sometimes the rain has no agronomic significance. Moreover, some soils types form a sealing top layer which prevents in-depth moisture penetration. In addition to this, if rain’s intensity exceeds 0,2 l/min., the quantity is greater than 10 l/m2 and the field is inclined, there exists a risk of soil erosion.
Real-time rain information helps you assess plant wetness and decide whether to conduct important agronomic activities such as harvesting and spraying. On weather forecasts, we have all seen expected precipitation of 0.2 litres, for example, and have asked ourselves whether it will actually rain, or the meteorologists write it “just to be on the safe side”. 0.2 litres are not significant for the general accuracy of the forecast, however when it comes to plants they are – even a light rain is enough to trigger development of fungal diseases.
The data gathered by Meteobot® is stored and accumulated. This allows calculation of some historical indicators such as annual rain sum and monthly rain distribution. This way, Meteobot® helps farmers not only with day-to-day planning, but also with agronomic analysis. After harvesting, it is important to find out the causes for this year’s yield and take measures to ensure or improve them next year. For every hybrid, for instance, there is an optimal rainfall quantity that is required to achieve its full potential. If this quantity has been available, but the yield is low, then we have to look for the cause elsewhere – in fertilizing, plant protection, etc.
Total rainfall is of course only the only precondition for high yield. In some development phases (for example grain forming in corn), plants need more water. If there is no precipitation during these periods, grains remain small and the yield is low. Here, to your help comes rainfall distribution by weeks – another historic indicator which is available to you thanks to Meteobot®.
All in all, we cannot influence rain, regardless of how much we would sometimes like to. However, by accurately and timely measuring it, we will be able to make the best possible agronomic decisions in а given situation.