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Monitor Air Quality with AirLink to Improve Agricultural Operations

Davis Instruments provides weather stations, EnviroMonitor, and a wide range of other sensors and platforms to growers all over the world, allowing them to see and analyze all of their data. We specialize in assisting you in optimizing yields, conserving resources, and increasing efficiency.

This summer, we're raising awareness about a growing threat to farmers, their employees, and their bottom lines: bad air quality.

Why should farmers be concerned about air quality?

In general, poor air quality is harmful to both plants and humans. However, the recent increase in wildfires has made air quality especially important in areas of the United States and the world where large-scale agriculture occurs.

Here are the top three reasons we believe everyone in agriculture should prioritize air quality:

Yield and environmental effects

Particulate matter (PM) air pollution can inhibit plant and crop growth, lowering yields and eroding agricultural profit margins. In fact, more than 50-year research in India discovered that particle matter can harm leaves and stoma, decreasing plant health. The study also discovered that some types of PM are genotoxic, which means they can harm plants' genetic coding and cause mutations.

Because tilling, planting, fertilizing, and utilizing farming equipment generate a substantial quantity of particulate matter in the air, it's critical to ensure that your actions, together with other air quality concerns, aren't actually reducing your crops' development potential.

According to Columbia University research, agricultural air pollution is the world's single largest source of fine particle air pollution. That implies producers must monitor air quality issues in their area for the sake of both their own operations and the community as a whole. 

Workplace safety

Despite the enormous rise of technology in recent decades, field people remain the lifeblood of agriculture. Because of climate change and increased wildfires, that vital personnel is exposed to more health dangers than ever before while on the job.

When air quality deteriorates, everyone's job becomes more difficult. Working (even outside) while the air quality is poor might result in serious medical events for persons who have asthma, respiratory allergies, or other heart and lung disorders. The inhalation of wildfire smoke can cause bronchitis, coughing, heart attack, stroke, and impaired lung function, not to mention the exacerbation of any existing respiratory disorders.

Even though the majority of the factors that contribute to poor air quality are beyond the control of individual farmers, OSHA requires that you maintain a "safe and healthy work environment" and provide "protection against hazards," which includes keeping people safe by ensuring they are breathing safe air.

Product quality

Plants raised in low air quality aren't living their greatest lives, which means they're not as tasty or beautiful. Winemakers in California, Oregon, and Australia, for example, have recently discovered that smoke taint from nearby wildfires is leaving their products unfit or undesirable, even in places where farmers saw no visible smoke.

However, smoke is only one of many distinct types of particulate matter in the air, and many of the other hazards are far more difficult to detect with the naked eye. That is why air quality monitoring technology is essential.

Davis AirLink: Agriculture Air Quality Monitor

The Davis AirLink is a professional-grade air quality monitor that is remarkably simple to set up, use, and read. The adaptability and low cost of the AirLink, along with Davis' WeatherLink App and Cloud, make it an ideal solution for farmers and growers wishing to improve their understanding of air quality across their operations.

What exactly does AirLink do?

The AirLink air quality sensor can be used both inside and outside...
  • Particulates as fine as 0.3 micrometers can be measured with an accuracy of +/- 10 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • In real time, compute an easy-to-understand Air Quality Index (AQI) score.
  • Wi-Fi data can be sent to the Davis Cloud, Amazon Alexa, or Google Home.

AirLink can be used in conjunction with the WeatherLink App to...
  • At any time, you can examine live AQI reports for your AirLink station(s).
  • Set alerts to notify you when harmful thresholds are reached.
  • Examine local air quality trends and perform research

How can I put AirLink to work on my farm?

In the field:
  • Create a local network of AirLinks to track air quality across your farm or growing facility.
  • Set AQI alarms so you know when to pull personnel for safety.
  • Compare your yields to hyperlocal AQI data to optimize operations.
In the manufacturing/processing facility:
  • Keep an eye on areas where work may cause temporary air quality issues.
  • Reports demonstrating safe conditions can be used to demonstrate product quality.
  • Configurable alerts ensure worker safety.
In the workplace:
  • Encourage employee health and wellness
  • Discover ways to increase ventilation and air quality.

How do I set up the AirLink?

The installation of an AirLink air quality monitor is really simple. All you need is a Wi-Fi network and a power outlet. Outbuildings and equipment sheds around the perimeter of your fields are ideal locations for an AirLink installation.

AirLink can be installed separately or as part of a larger Davis weather station. If you already have a Davis station, you can connect an AirLink to it and begin viewing Air Quality reports with your other data on WeatherLink Live.

Using the WeatherLink App, you can configure and launch your AirLink in minutes. Here's a video that guides you through the whole thing:

How do I get access to my air quality data?

Once your AirLink has been deployed and set in WeatherLink, you may get real-time data on demand via the app or the website. You may also use the app to configure SMS-based alert notifications so that you receive a text message when specific criteria are reached.

How can I obtain a Davis AirLink right away?

The Davis AirLink indoor/outdoor air quality monitor is the ideal answer for your farm if you want to breathe a little easier when it comes to worker safety, yield protection, and product quality.

Visit the Davis Instruments main site to get your own AirLink and have a better grasp of the conditions affecting your crops.

Download our free Agricultural Buying Guide: Environmental Monitoring Solutions to learn more about how Davis Instruments' environmental monitoring solutions help farmers optimize yields, conserve resources, and enhance efficiency.


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