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New technology allows farmers to cut costs, save water

Monday, November 29, 2010


"Watpro," a new technology seemingly out of a science fiction movie, aims to help farmers cut their water bills - by using sensors on satellites in outer space.

Increasingly, farmers endeavor to cut costs so they can reap higher profits, get rid of their used tractors and buy new John Deere farm equipment. Well, a new technology, seemingly out of a science fiction movie, aims to help farmers cut their water bills - by using sensors on satellites in outer space.

Short for water productivity, "Watpro" was developed by Sander Zwart and his fellow researchers at Deflt University of Technology in the Netherlands. By referencing satellite images and remote sensing data, the technology measures agricultural water usage and illustrates where it is used productively and where it is wasted. Researchers hope that it will allow farmers to both drastically cut their water costs and handily increase their profits by monitoring water usage.

Zwart affirmed that the technology does not tell farmers how to raise water productivity, but rather identifies areas where changes can easily be made. Zwart further asserted that because of global shortages of water, tools "are being developed that assist farmers to save water and optimize water productivity." Zwart cites his research findings that show wheat farmers in France used roughly 50 percent less water than their Russian counterparts, emphasizing the potential water waste.

As the global population is forecast to grow to 9.2 billion in 2050 from 6.9 in 2007, there will be a very real need to feed more mouths using fewer available resources. Watpro hopes to help farmers do just that.
 

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