CRA-W is equipping Wallonia with 16,000 virtual weather stations

CRA-W is equipping Wallonia with 16,000 virtual weather stations

Within the framework of AGROMET, CRA-W is currently setting up a network of 16,000 virtual weather stations to provide parcels with agricultural warnings. The production launch is planned for 2020.

The Pameseb network has been providing meteorological data for many years to issue agricultural warnings (potato late blightand septoria disease in wheat). Thanks to this data, it is possible to elaborate regional warnings but recommendations per parcel can't be established, since it isn't possible to take into consideration local weather conditions. However, a warning per parcel would allow farmers to better target treatments, thereby optimising crop protection while reducing the quantity of plant protection products used.

Within the framework of the development of integrated pest management in Wallonia, CRA-W decided to support the AGROMET project. The goal of this three-year project (April 2017 - March 2020), conducted in collaboration with RMI, is to set up a network of virtual weather stations aimed at supplying real-time agricultural monitoring epidemiological models anywhere in Wallonia.

This network is based on the spatial interpolation of observations from real weather stations. The hourly data will be spatialised by geostatic analysis on a one square kilometre mesh grid that will cover the whole of Wallonia, representing a network of 16,000 virtual weather stations.

In the beginning, the spatialised parameters will be the air temperature, air humidity and leaf wetness. Because rain makes interpolation difficult, as it can sometimes be heavy and very localised, the platform will be supplied with spatialised hourly data for this parameter, provided by RMI on the basis of radar images and ground observations. Hourly weather forecasts, which are also essential to establishing agricultural warnings, will also be available.

So, see you in 2020, with a platform ready to supply future warning systems per parcel and many other tools as well, aimed at sustainable farming that benefits the farmer, the consumer and the environment!

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