Optimal crop protection is one of the most challenging tasks for farmers. The very success of their endeavours actually stands and falls with the humidity. Why, explains SmartFarm’s leading agrometeorologist, Erno Bouma, in the second part of this three-part series.
Why do we look at humidity?
The connection between crop protection and the humidity of the crop might not be apparent at first glance, but it is one of the most crucial factors for any successful treatment. This originates from the fact that dryer crops produce more cutin in their leaves. While this wax-layer is protecting them from drying out, it also makes it very hard for the leaves to absorb any water based pesticide, deeming any attempt to protect the crop with such substances to fail from the very start.
Which humidity needs to be considered?
To make sure the cutin is not hindering the treatment, the leaves of the crops need to be sufficiently humid. But whether the crop is in the right state does not depend on the commonly looked at relative humidity, but on the dewpoint temperature. This is the temperature at which the humidity in the air actually is condensing on the leaves. Unlike the relative humidity, the dewpoint temperature is very stable and not influenced by changing temperatures, giving the farmer crucial information on when to treat the crops.
How can these factors be accounted for?
Considering the severe impact of humidity on the success of crop protection, the perfect moment for spraying needs to be chosen carefully. This task can be utterly challenging if it was not for our top notch technology. The FieldMate does measure the essential dewpoint temperature directly in the field and translates this data into easily comprehensible information. Then, our SprayPlanner is considering the humidity of the plants to help farmers finding the perfect moment for treating their crop. This makes crop protection an easy task, even without being an expert on crop humidity.