Understory Weather Sensors

It’s not unusual for one of your fields to get an inch of rain while the field down the road only got two-tenths. A company called Understory has solar-powered weather stations that measure many atmospheric variables in real time.

Alex Kubicek is the company CEO. He says a common place for installation is 20'-30' feet from an irrigation pivot. The sensor is on a pole, and at the top is a stainless steel ball that measures atmospheric force.

"Which is the movement from the ball itself at a very microscopic level, and our sensors are sensitive enough to actually pick up those microscopic movements from the ball. So, if you imagine the pitter-patter of rain hitting the side of the sphere, we’re actually looking at the force of impact from each one of those raindrops," he says. "And that’s what allows us to accurately understand the rainfall, as well as the rain size distribution."

The sensor captures a weather event about 50,000 times per-second. Kubicek says the measurements are taken in real-time and the data is updated every minute.

"We have this type of technology that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and edge computing to pull all the data that we need out of our main sensor, as well as marry it with temperature, pressure, humidity, solar radiation, and other types of measurements and then send it back up to our cloud which then creates analytics that growers can use to make decisions around how the weather’s actually impacting their crops," he says.

Kubicek says depending on the topography, one sensor is installed for every 200-to-1,000 acres.


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