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Get RMA weather stations & soil moisture probes via FETF118 grants

News - 18.03.24

The FETF118 funding opportunity makes now an ideal time to invest in this innovative technology.

What is the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF)?

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) is a £14 million fund established by the UK government to support investments in equipment, technology, and infrastructure that improves farm productivity and protects the environment.

Under the FETF118 call, grants of up to 40% are available to support investments in digital technologies for agricultural and horticultural businesses.

This presents an excellent opportunity for UK growers to obtain funding assistance with implementing an automated weather station and soil moisture monitoring system.

RMA weather station and soil moisture probes from Agrii

RMA weather and soil moisture stations offer growers an innovative solution for accessing real-time, location-specific weather and soil moisture data. The professional-grade weather station provides continuous monitoring of conditions including wind speed/ direction, temperature, rainfall, humidity, and solar radiation.

Growers can leverage this data along with soil moisture measurements from the probe to inform irrigation schedules, frost protection, and other operational decisions.

The rich historical data collected also enables analysing crop-weather relationships and forecasting future conditions. Utilising the RMA digital weather station and soil probes delivers significant benefits for growers.

By monitoring current conditions and analysing trends, growers can implement precision irrigation to optimize water usage, manage crop stress levels and protect vital nutrients. The system provides the environmental insights needed to maximize yields while minimizing resource waste.

Automated weather tracking also facilitates early warning of impending hazards like frost, allowing preventative action to protect crops. With granular data to support decision making, growers can improve productivity and profitability.

Get RMA weather stations & soil moisture probes via FETF118 grants

Agrii weather stations & soil moisture probes via FETF118 grants

About RMA Weather Stations

RMA weather stations are state-of-the-art equipment including ultra-sonic sensors if specified and are designed to provide growers with precise real-time weather data and historical records. Each weather station can be configured with a bespoke range of sensors and measurement tools to monitor all critical factors affecting crop health and growth.

Features and Sensors

RMA weather stations can be configured to include  the following sensors and measurement tools:

  • Air temperature and humidity sensor
  • Measures ambient air temperature and relative humidity.
  • Solar radiation sensor
  • Measures intensity of solar radiation and sunlight hours.
  • Rain gauge
  • Measures rainfall in mm per hour or day
  • Anemometer
  • Measures wind speed and direction.
  • Barometric pressure sensor
  • Monitors atmospheric pressure.
  • Leaf wetness

Combined, these sensors allow the RMA system to record and analyse a complete set of climatic conditions.

Stations with appropriate sensors can calculate derived metrics like leaf wetness, evapotranspiration, and growing degree days.



What Data is Collected?

Each RMA weather station provides a wealth of data to growers in real-time and historically.

The key data collected includes:

  • Air temperature (max, min, average)
  • Relative humidity
  • Rainfall
  • Solar radiation
  • Wind speed and direction
  • Leaf wetness
  • Soil moisture and temperature (in 10cm increments)
  • Atmospheric pressure

Data can be analysed hourly, daily, monthly or annually and, is presented through the easy-to-use RHIZA Connect APP available across all devices.



Real-Time Local Weather Monitoring

RMA  weather stations allow growers to closely monitor real-time weather conditions across their fields and crops. The system provides a detailed overview of current conditions and trended data and with an associated forecast can be used to provide localised forecast of a range of disease and pest pressure so growers can make informed decisions. All pest and disease forecast for a wide range of crops including forecast irrigation requirement are displayed in the RHIZA Connect app and dashboard.



Key real-time weather monitoring features include: -

View current weather data

The weather station tracks temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, rainfall, solar radiation and more. This real-time data allows growers to see current conditions impacting their crops.


Track conditions and changes

Growers can observe how conditions are changing throughout the day and night. This helps identify developing trends and make preparations. For example, tracking increasing winds and dropping humidity may indicate an impending storm.


Identify developing trends

By monitoring conditions in real-time, growers can spot trends developing over the short-term. This allows for proactive planning and response before potential threats escalate. For instance, tracking a gradual rise in temperatures over several hours may necessitate irrigation or other actions to prevent heat stress.

By leveraging historical insights, growers can make strategic decisions about planting times, irrigation, frost protection, and more. The ability to understand seasonal patterns and identify long-term trends is key to maximizing yields and success.

 

Precision Irrigation Management

The RMA soil moisture station can link to a local weather station to support  precision irrigation management to optimize water usage.

By monitoring real-time weather data and soil moisture levels, growers can determine the precise irrigation needs of their crops. This prevents overwatering and reduces water waste.

  • Irrigation can be scheduled based on forecasted rain and weather conditions. If heavy rain is expected, irrigation cycles can be adjusted to avoid over-saturation.
  • Soil moisture data allows for irrigation specific to different zones and soil types in a field. Drier areas can be identified and targeted.
  • Water application rates can be calibrated to measured evapotranspiration rates. This fine-tunes watering to match plant water uptake.
  • Historical weather data guides long-term irrigation planning and scheduling. Trends in rainfall, evapotranspiration and soil moisture are analysed.

 

Informed Decision Making

By using weather and soil data from RMA  weather stations and soil moisture probes, growers can make better informed decisions to maximize yields and profitability.

Soil Moisture Monitoring

The RMA  soil moisture probes allow growers to monitor moisture levels in the root zone. By watering based on soil moisture data rather than a set schedule, growers can maximize irrigation efficiency. The probes can reduce water use by 25-60% compared to traditional timed irrigation.

Return on Investment

Investing in an RMA weather stations and soil moisture probes through the FETF118 fund can deliver significant returns for growers through increased yields, reduced costs, and labour efficiency gains.

Increased Yields: By monitoring weather and soil conditions in real-time and using that data to optimize irrigation, fertilizer applications, and other crop management practices, growers can achieve higher yields per hectare .

Precisely meeting crop water needs while avoiding overwatering boosts fruit size and quality. Tracking soil moisture prevents crops from experiencing drought stress during critical growing stages.

FETF118 Digital Weather Station Fund

The FETF118 funding opportunity makes now an ideal time to invest in this innovative technology.

Up to £3,000 is available through the fund, which is financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and DEFRA.

To be eligible for the FETF118 fund, applicants must:

  • Be a farmer, grower, or other agricultural business based in England
  • Have a minimum of 3 hectares of land used for fruit, vegetable, horticultural or potato production
  • Not have already received funding for a weather station through a previous scheme.

Key dates for the FETF118 fund are:

  • Fund opened: January 2023
  • Application deadline: September 2023
  • Funding awarded: November 2023
  • Funded equipment in place by: March 202

Successful applicants will receive confirmation of the grant funding, which can cover up to 40% of the eligible costs. The remaining 60% must be paid by the grower when purchasing the equipment.

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