To minimize the (temporary) impact of droughts and to maximize crop yields an effective data infrastructure is crucial.
An extensive monitoring network helps to keep track of information that has been gathered and to find ways to implement the results. The Dutch water, agricultural and geo-information sectors work together to achieve useful networks. They are experienced in implementing this internationally as well.
The information chain consists of data acquisition, data processing, data storage, data analysis and modelling, decision support services for farmers, water managers and policy makers. Precipitation, evaporation, (ground)water levels, temperature, radiation, as well as elements such as soil moisture, soil storage, yield and land use, are already routinely measured on an international, national, regional and local scale by using advanced monitoring and remote sensing techniques. Combining this information provides input for irrigation management systems, crop monitoring systems and yield forecasting systems.
Eventually using monitoring and remote sensing in agriculture, or the so called precision agriculture, leads to optimization of irrigation and the application of nutrients and therefore will improve water quality and availability. Precision agriculture can be applied at plot level and within the plot can advise how much of the inputs should be applied.
The Netherlands has many innovative high-tech companies working on monitoring and remote sensing and the practical application in the field. They strive to achieve maximum yield while limiting inputs such as water and nutrients. Sustainability and optimization in food production are key drivers. Globally the Dutch are among the market leaders in monitoring and remote sensing.