Cockell, Charles S.
'Radio-agriculture' - ground and space-based determination of agricultural productivity.
Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 55(11-12)
As agricultural productivity and the success or failure of crops are influenced by weather conditions and the local availability of water, great benefits could potentially be accrued by an ability to closely match the germination of crops against weather predictions, particularly as weather prediction models are becoming more powerful. A way to do this is to genetically modify seeds that will germinate in response to a unidirectional signal transmitted to them (a ‘radio-controlled seed’). The transmission, most likely in the microwave region because of the unidirectional nature of these waves, could either come from a satellite or from a ground unit. Many fields would be seeded at the beginning of the season and selectively ‘switched on’ in response to weather conditions most favourable for given crop types. Hand held devices used by farmers could trigger seeds at a more local level (down to individual plots). Although seeds left in fields for too long without germinating will eventually rot, the radio-controlled seed would provide a considerable degree of leeway between the sowing of seeds and their germination that could be directly controlled by farmers in response to weather conditions and/or local water and equipment availability. This could reduce waste and improve agricultural productivity.
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