The company was established in 1984, with the aim to digitalize agriculture. The founder and CEO, Gottfried Pessl, lead his team to create the first device under METOS® brand – Electronic Disease Predictor for Apple Scab. Since then, the company has been working intensively on the development of high-performance technologies for precision agriculture that help optimize processes throughout the farming sector and beyond.

Today, Pessl Instruments GmbH, with headquarters in Weiz, Austria, with over 65 employees, is a worldwide company presented in 85 countries by 15 affiliates and over 200 distributors. With the support of all employees and local teams, a wide range of hardware and software solutions under the METOS® brand are available to users in various industries (agriculture, smart cities, research, hydrology, meteorology, flood warning, …) all around the world.

Interview with Sergiu Smocinschi, Head of KAMs for Eastern Europe & Nutrition Line Product Manager.

METOS® Electronic Disease predictor for Apple Scab

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Sergiu Smocinschi: We offer hardware and software solutions for sustainable yet effective and profitable farming processes and support farmers with:

  • resource optimization (money, time, water, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.)
  • boosting the crop yield with ag-smart technology
  • premium-quality hardware and software products
  • growing safer food
  • lowering the impact on the environment

The company offers services such as:

  • weather monitoring
  • weather forecast
  • irrigation management
  • crop & plant disease models
  • insect monitoring
  • remote field monitoring
  • logistics & resource management
  • nutrition management
  • spray quality assessment
  • animal welfare

FieldClimate is a free software application that comes with a METOS® by Pessl Instruments station. After activating a weather forecast license, one can access a variety of different tools that help with decision making. E.g., field accessibility shows when the conditions are best to visit the field. When we have a rain load of 30 mm, we expect very limited field access. It will get better when we have 20 mm of active rain or less. This is indicated by the field access rating from -5 to +3. With every dry day, the field access is rated better.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

S.S: When developing new METOS® products, we always have two keystones in mind: sustainability and the real needs of farmers. They require a highly reliable sensor set permanently connected to the mobile phone, precise data reachable within seconds, long-range communications, and an extended battery lifetime.

All METOS® hardware has an autonomous power supply by using “green energy” for its long-life cycle. We are currently putting more emphasis on NB-IoT network which helps us cover a lot of what we are aiming for.

NB-IoT/CAT-M/GPRS allows a global range of coverage compared to any other system and gives great penetration which is optimal for greenhouses, soil moisture monitoring in complex crop canopies and animal-breeding facilities. Another great aspect is the optimized power consumption, small solar supply combined with rechargeable batteries which is sustainable and good for the environment. These new devices are already working and transmitting data from fields around the world.

The latest models of METOS® weather stations

µMETOS NB-IoT; on the picture variation type ET0 – weather station with precipitation, global radiation, ultrasonic wind speed and wind direction, relative humidity, air temperature sensor

nMETOS – nMETOS comes in 6 different variations; the sensors sets were designed in cooperation with farmers, delivering what fist their needs the most

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

S.S: We offer the widest range of weather stations and data loggers that support farmers and those who make weather-dependent decisions on a daily basis.

All our products are designed to support the users each step of the way – from seeding & sowing, irrigation, applying fertilizers, responding to potential heat or cold stress, disease modelling, preventing insects or diseases to develop or spread, and more. Depending on the needs and goals, the existing devices can be customized with additional sensors and services.

Plug & play devices, weather stations or cameras for field and pests monitoring are easy to install, handle and are user friendly. 

Namely, we have:

iMETOS VWS – a virtual weather station with no physical sensors

iMETOS VWS – a virtual weather station without any physical sensors (no maintenance costs). Currently available for a 1-month free trial.

MiniMETOS, nMETOS, µMETOS and iMETOS – different lines of weather stations with various sets of sensors for weather monitoring & forecasting, soil moisture and soil temperature monitoring, disease modelling, plant nutrition, stress monitoring for crops and animals, accumulator tools, etc.

µMETOS CLIMA LoRa – designed to help with irrigation management and improving plant protection.

iMETOS Work Track, iSCOUT, CropVIEW, iMETOS MobiLab, Solantenna, Dualex and others – problem-oriented data loggers that support you with work planning, asset tracking, AI-supported high-res cameras for insect monitoring, crop growth and remote field monitoring, water, sap and soil nutrition sampling, irrigation automation, spraying and more.

iMETOS WorkTrack & iMETOS Beacon – the pair gives you the capability of both fleet tracking and asset tracking, to manage your entire farm – from equipment to employees.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

S.S: Climate change and Green New Deal have led farmers to overhaul their crop growth practices. Together with the Corona pandemic which consolidated the need for remote field monitoring, the market has become even more open and understanding towards the use of ag-smart technologies.

With over 80,000 weather stations and over 1.5 million sensors currently installed worldwide, the market has grown and continues to grow very fast.  

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

S.S: The multitude of technologies currently available makes it possible to come up with the boldest ideas. Based on field demands, we currently see the increased interest in:

  • Process automation – it is not only a desire of users but also a necessity for optimizing resources. Automation of irrigation, ventilation of greenhouses and stalls, control of pesticide spray nozzles.
  • Artificial intelligence – already entered into the AG market and helps in recognition of pests, weeds and diseases, yield prediction, harvest estimation and fruit measurement.
  • Alerts and notifications – ensures the timely application of smart solutions in extreme conditions (frost, draught, …).  
  • Complete solution (All-in-One) – Prompt actions guarantee high yields and crop quality. For this, farmers give priority to platforms that offer the full range of services needed in a “SMART FARM”. Pessl Instruments follows this principle by offering all the smart solutions on one platform called FieldClimate which is available in WEB and mobiles Apps.

µMETOS NB-IoT with wet and dry bulb for monitoring frost potential

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

S.S: Due to the fact they are cost-effective, low-power consumption products that offer the widest range of solutions, all of the devices under METOS® have equally distributed popularity. Though we are seeing a growing interest in solutions for disease modelling, irrigation automation, soil nutrition sampling and insect traps.

Namely previously mentioned µMETOS NB-IoT, a weather station that provides everything what a standard user needs with possibility for further expansion.

We have a higher interest in nMETOS – the latest line of products launched in 2022. It is a basic sensor-set that helps one enter into precision agriculture with ease, with minimum costs and maximum ROI.

iSCOUT® insect trap and CropVIEW – remote field & crop growth monitoring device

The damage caused by insects is growing by the year and therefore so is the demand for iSCOUT®. An AI-supported insect trap with integrated electronics remotely monitors insect pressure in the field and helps farmers prevent damage and crop losses.

Due to weather unpredictability that has a high impact on the overall yield, we put a lot of energy into developing yield prediction tools and services. Understanding how the crop is developing is essential from various aspects – the obvious ones, estimating the profit, to broader such as food security. METOS® offers various options for yield estimation such as crop growth monitoring with CropVIEW®, yield prediction based on the size of the crop with SolGrader app, and estimating yield based on local environmental conditions (weather, soil) on field level – focusing on yield limitation by water availability.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

S.S: We estimate that the trends ignited by the global Corona-pandemic which resulted in mass transit from conventional technologies to smart technologies, especially those for remote crop growth monitoring and resource optimization (water and fertilizers), will continue not only in 2022 but at least a few years to come.