Rain is usually seen as a benefit to crops and fields, but there is an “ideal” amount of rainfall in any given growing season for most crops. If the average rainfall is much lower or higher than the ideal, it can lead to significant problems, from drowned crops to lower yields.

When to water

Knowing when to water, as well as how much to water, is skill backed by years of experienced for farmers. Too much watering could drown the crops, especially if there has been rainfall. However, a combination of not enough watering and no rainfall could also lead to dying crops.

Underwatering “starves” the plant of water, which can lead to crop death or low yield. Conversely, overwatering can lead to browned tips of crop leaves and also possible root rot and other issues.

Disease + mold

If crops are too wet, they could also start to mold or catch a fungus. The soil can also start to collect bacteria, mold, and fungus, which can then be absorbed by the plant. While this isn’t as common in crops as it is in indoor plants, poor drainage and irrigation systems can lead to these types of growths taking control over your crops.

Along with mold or a fungus, disease can also spread amongst your crops. Rainfall is also a good indicator of predicting common crop disease, as it can affect the spread of disease. Rain can spread pathogens, pests, and other diseases to plants, leading to massive diseased crops. This could affect its yield or cause the entire field to become unusable.

Growth from seed

Besides disease, rainfall can also determine how fast a crop will grow from seed, including when it will be ready for harvesting. A good balance of rain and proper irrigation can lead to faster-growing plants, which can cut down on germination time and the length between seeding and harvest. The crops are dependent on water during their entire lifecycle in order to survive and thrive.

Soil health

Soil is also greatly affected by rainfall. If it is too wet or too dry, nutrients in the soil can run off and not make it to the plants’ roots, leading to poor growth and overall health. Additionally, as mentioned previously, overwatering or too much rain can also lead to bacteria, fungus, and mold growth in the soil.

Crop output

Knowing when to water, preventing disease and mold, and making sure the soil is kept at the right moisture level are all components of the overall goal of the crops and their farmers: to have the highest crop yield possible. The right amount of rainfall can balance out these factors, which can lead to healthier, larger crops that can be harvested more fully.

Balancing proper watering is key to the best crops possible. Sigfox-enabled sensors can help farmers better track and predict weather conditions and rainfall, thus leading to better crop health.