One of the biggest issues many farmers face is how to control extraneous business costs, like excess water and fertilizer use. Now, cutting edge technology is using sensors on satellites to optimize water use among farmers, potentially resulting in great cost savings and increases in supply chain efficiency.

Utilizing satellite images and remote sensing data, the new technology - dubbed "Watpro," short for water productivity - measures water productivity in various agricultural crops, highlighting where water is used most economically and where it is wasted. Various variables are taken into account in the calculations, including temperature, solar energy and the amount of green vegetation in an area. Researchers say the findings will enable farmers to better monitor water usage and prevent it from being wasted, effectively maximizing natural resources and cutting costs.

Using this new method, researchers last year analyzed wheat crops from different countries and found that wheat grown in France required less than half the water input it took in Russia, indicating a potential for great cost reductions and supply chain improvements. According to Sander Zwart, Watpro's creator, the system will ensure practices are "developed that assist farmers to save water and optimize water productivity."

Presently, about 70 percent of all surface freshwater is used for farming, an alarming statistic as the U.N. affirms the global population will swell to 9.2 billion in 2050 from 6.9 billion in 2007. Watpro's creators aim to reduce water consumption as a means to improve farming efficiency, reduce costs, and help the environment.
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