There are many factors to be considered when it comes to optimal crop protection. What many farmers do not know is the important role of dew. What makes dew such a crucial factor, explains SmartFarm’s leading agrometeorologist, Erno Bouma, in the last part of this three-part series.
What is dew?
Optimal crop protection is not possible without focussing on dew. Dew is a result of the leaves cooling off in the evening. They then become colder than the surrounding air and the so called dewpoint temperature. As a result, the humidity in the air is condensing on the leaves, making them moist. This process only stops when the sun rises in the morning and even after that, the leaves remain wet for several hours to come as the dew needs to evaporate again.
What role is dew playing for crop protection?
Dew is a form of moisture and as such it has an impact on how the crop can be protected and on how infections can affect it. Crop treatment with pesticides does not work the same on crop covered with dew as it would normally do, as most substances cannot stick to wet surfaces very well. Besides that, dew is opening up the possibility of fungal infections. Fungal spores make use of a moist environment to develop and penetrate the crop and get into the cells, causing severe damage. This makes dew a multifaced factor, influencing the planning for crop treatments on many levels.
How can these factors be accounted for?
Considering the possible negative consequences of dew on the crop and its impact on fungal infections, farmers need to act carefully when treating their crop. Assistance with this challenging task is provided by the FieldMate, which measures the dewpoint temperature directly in the field and translates this data into comprehensive information. The locally measured dew acts as input for our SprayPlanner and with it contributes to finding the perfect moment for farmers to treat their crop. This does not only protect the crop in general, but also helps reducing the danger of fungal infections.