Precision Decisions working with Sentinel satellite data to improve crop health and yields


One of the key spacecraft in Europe’s new multi-billion-euro Earth observation programme has launched from French Guiana, Sentinel-2B joins Sentinel-2A already in orbit.

Precision Decisions Remote Sensing expert – Louis Gilmartin is already working with the data and imagery from Sentinel-2A since its launch in 2015.

“The launch of Sentinel-2B which will work in constellation with 2A will halve data acquisition times. The satellite data can be used to detect and monitor crop density and health. This is done by analyzing the amount of visible light and infrared light that is reflected from the plant. We can use this data to produce a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is a graphical indicator of the crops health,” he said.

This data can be used to determine if there are areas of the field that are not as healthy as they should be. The farmer or agronomist can then use that information to take appropriate action to improve any problem areas that are detected.

Because the data is collected frequently and archived, we can compare data over a period of time and detect patterns in crop health and yield, and take appropriate action before problems become serious.

Precision Decisions is working on a development of their MiFarm™ software, where they will be able to acquire and process the satellite data and then produce a graphical overlay, so that the farmer can easily see and monitor their crop health. MiFarm™ currently is designed to be a simple and intuitive online platform for field mapping and map display within a single layer.

MiFarm2™ is being developed to incorporate multiple data layers including this satellite data, and will become a powerful and inexpensive field and farm management tool.

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