Seeing Stress from Space

Monday, July 24, 2017 - 14:02 in Earth & Climate

The U.S. is predicting droughts sooner with satellites Unlike us humans, soybeans and wheat can’t turn to acupuncture or aromatherapy when they’re stressed out. And, yes, plants can certainly feel stress. Stress that’s caused by too little moisture and exacerbated by high temperatures. “Agricultural stress occurs when crops do not have adequate soil water during their growth cycle,” explained agricultural researcher Christopher Hain. “Even if the stress doesn’t lead to failure of the crop, it can have significant impacts on end-of-season yield.” Now a new tool is letting the U.S. agriculture community tap into space-based data to see this stress before it takes its toll. Heads Up Kyle Schell, a family rancher near Wall, South Dakota, knows how quickly fortunes can change for his business. “When droughts or flash droughts hit, and we as managers do not make adjustments, we start to do detrimental things to the ranch resource,” he said. “Having a good idea...

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