A new satellite technology, offered by a Swedish company Vultus, combats over-fertilization within agriculture industry and enables waste-free farming. The technology, that will be launched on March 16th, 2018, is designed to enable farmers around the world to reduce their nitrogen fertilizer usage by 40 percent.
The system will start by covering 5,5 million hectares of land that is used for agriculture worldwide. By preventing the overuse of fertilizers, that largely contribute to agricultural waste, the technology is estimated to save 2,3 million tons of CO2. Vultus calculates that it is the same amount of CO2, that is produced to keep more than half a million homes warm every year.
Dangers of over-fertilization
Currently, the agriculture industry significantly contributes to the environmental degradation. Due to a lack of tools and knowledge of how to precisely fertilize the plants, farmers around the world guesstimate the dosage of nitrogen fertilizers and spread them evenly across the field, despite a large variation within them. This practice results in 60 percent of nitrogen fertilizers going to waste, leading to unhealthy crops and creating environmental problems on a much larger scale. The overuse of nitrogen fertilizers and highly intense farming practices corrupt soils and increase acidification of our lakes and rivers, which, in turn, causes a rapid depletion of various fish species. The excess of nitrogen fertilizer also emits the greenhouse gas, called nitrous oxide, which in Sweden alone is the cause of 7 percent of CO2.
Although the current situation is indeed dire, the good news is that most of the before-mentioned problems can easily be prevented, since so much of this damage is done due to the inefficient practices of farming and the imprecise application of nitrogen fertilizers.
Vultus solves the over-fertilization problem by analyzing satellite images of farmers fields, identifying varied conditions and different nutrient needs within them and providing farmers with the up-to-date analysis and easy-to-follow nitrogen recommendations. These nitrogen prescriptions can cut fertilizers usage by 40 percent, and in turn, significantly reduce environmental harm, help farmers grow healthier plants and save them a significant amount of money.
“It’s time to change the way we think of agriculture industry and stop the damage that it causes to the environment. We shouldn’t be afraid of adopting new technologies, that are designed to enable new ways of sustainable, cheaper and all in all better farming” – Robert Schmitt, CEO of Vultus.