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Monitor Air Quality with AirLink to Maximize Agricultural Operations

Monitor Air Quality with AirLink to Maximize Agricultural Operations

Growers all around the world rely on Davis Instruments for weather stations, EnviroMonitor, and a wide variety of additional sensors and platforms to view and analyze all of their data. We specialize in helping you optimize yields, preserve resources, and improve efficiency.

This summer, we're blowing the whistle on an increasing threat to farmers, their employees, and their profit margins: poor air quality.

Why should farmers care about air quality?

Generally speaking, poor-quality air is bad for plants and people alike. In the last few years, however, the increase in wildfires has made air quality especially relevant in parts of the U.S. and world where large-scale agriculture takes place.

Here are the top three reasons we think everybody in agriculture should make air quality a priority:

Yield & environmental impacts

Particulate matter (PM) air pollution can stunt the growth of plants and crops, reducing yields and eating into agricultural profit margins. In fact, a study conducted in India over the course of more than 50 years uncovered that particulate matter can damage leaves and stoma, lowering plant health. The study also concluded that some forms of PM are genotoxic, meaning they can damage plants' genetic code, causing mutations.

Since the acts of tilling, planting, fertilizing, and using farming equipment create a large amount of particulate matter in the air, it's important to be sure your operations, combined with other air quality factors, aren't actually limiting the growth potential of your crops.

A Columbia University study uncovered that this kind of agricultural air pollution is the world's single greatest source of fine particulate air pollution. That means growers have a responsibility to monitor air quality impacts in their area, for the good of both their own operations and the community at large.

Worker safety

Even with the explosive growth of technology in recent decades, workers in the field are still the lifeblood of agriculture. Thanks to climate change and increasing wildfires, those invaluable workers are exposed to more health risks while they work than ever before.

When air quality dips, work becomes more strenuous for everybody involved. For people with asthma, respiratory allergies, or other heart and lung issues, working (even outside) when the air quality is poor can lead to dangerous medical events. Wildfire smoke in the air can lead to bronchitis, coughing, heart attack, stroke, and reduced lung function, not to mention the exacerbation of any existing respiratory conditions.

Even though most of the factors that contribute to unhealthy air are beyond the control of individual farmers, OSHA still dictates that you must operate a "safe and healthy work environment" and provide "protection against hazards." That includes keeping people safe by ensuring they are breathing safe air.

Product quality

Plants that are raised with poor air quality aren’t living their best lives, and that means they aren’t as delicious or pretty. For example, in recent years, winemakers in California, Oregon, and Australia are discovering that smoke taint from area wildfires is rendering their products unusable or unappealing, even in areas where farmers never saw visible smoke.

Smoke is only one of the many different kinds of particulate matter in the air, however, and many of the other threats are even tougher to see with the naked eye. That's why air quality monitoring technology is so important.

Presenting Davis AirLink: Air Quality Monitor for Agriculture

A Davis AirLink air quality monitor attached to a log cabin

The Davis AirLink is a professional-grade air quality monitor that’s incredibly easy to install, use, and interpret. The AirLink’s versatility and friendly price point paired with Davis’ WeatherLink App and Cloud provide an ideal solution for farmers and growers looking to build a better understanding of air quality across their operations.

What does AirLink do?

The AirLink air quality monitor can be deployed inside or outside to…

  • Measure particulates as small as 0.3 micrometers with an accuracy of +/- 10 micrograms per cubic meter in concentration
  • Calculate an easy-to-interpret Air Quality Index (AQI) score in real time
  • Send data to the Davis Cloud, Amazon Alexa, or Google Home via Wi-Fi

Paired with the WeatherLink App, you can use AirLink to…

  • Review live AQI reports for your AirLink station(s) at any time
  • Set alarms that alert you as soon as dangerous thresholds are met
  • Observe local air quality trends and conduct studies

How can I use AirLink on my farm?

In the field

  • Create a local network of AirLinks to map air quality across your farm or growing facility
  • Set AQI alarms so you know when to pull workers for safety purposes
  • Compare your yields to hyperlocal AQI data to optimize operations

In the processing/production facility

  • Monitor spaces where work can create temporary air quality hazards
  • Demonstrate product quality with reports that illustrate safe conditions
  • Protect worker safety with configurable alarms

In the office

  • Support employee health and wellness
  • Uncover opportunities to improve ventilation and air quality

How do I install the AirLink?

Installing an AirLink air quality monitor is incredibly easy. All you need is access to a Wi-Fi network and A/C power. Outbuildings and equipment sheds around the perimeter of your fields are great places to set up an AirLink.

You can install AirLink independently or as part of a larger Davis weather station. If you have an existing Davis station, you can add an AirLink and start viewing Air Quality reports alongside your other data on WeatherLink Live.

Configuring and launching your AirLink takes just minutes using the WeatherLink App. Here’s a video that walks you through the entire process:

How can I access my air quality data?

Once your AirLink is deployed in the field and configured in WeatherLink, you can access your real-time data on demand through the app or the site. You can also use the app to set up SMS-based alert notifications so that you’ll get a text message as soon as certain thresholds are met.

How can I get a Davis AirLink right now?

If you’re looking to breathe a little easier when it comes to worker safety, protecting yields, and maximizing product quality, the Davis AirLink indoor/outdoor air quality monitor is the perfect solution for your farm.

To get an AirLink of your own and deepen your understanding of conditions affecting your crops, visit the Davis Instruments main site.

To learn more about how environmental monitoring solutions from Davis Instruments help farmers optimize yields, preserve resources, and improve efficiency, download our free Agricultural Buying Guide:

Davis Instruments Agricultural Buyers' Guide

Davis Instruments, and AEM brand

In the face of escalating environmental risks, AEM is the essential source for insights on weather, climate, lightning, floods, wildfires, water management, and more.

Learn more about AEM and all of our solutions here.

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