Monitoring Agricultural Sustainability by Satellite

MASSAT is the next step in the development of a parcel-based database, populated with satellite-derived measures of in-season crop growth, crop productivity and natural capital, to support sustainable agriculture in the UK and Mongolia.

The project will develop parcel-based spatial databases in the UK and in Mongolia, populated with satellite-derived measures relating to arable farming, the requirements for which have been identified through the Discovery Phase of MAPCAM and other work by partners in the UK agricultural sector. Information on cropped areas along with temporal and spatial variability in crop growth are important metrics allowing analysis of cropping trends, agricultural productivity, prediction of yield and prescription of appropriate real time interventions by land managers and government regulators and policy makers alike (which may include decisions on alternative, non-crop land uses to provide a range of environmental outcomes).

Techniques for monitoring cereal growth demonstrated previously in the UK and tested in Mongolia will be refined and validated. These are based on time series of images representing traditional optical vegetation indices and/or equivalents based on radar data.

Satellite-derived measures will be developed to show: crop growth during the season; cover crop maps for the previous winter (UK only); tillage; and soil organic matter content. The planned development is based primarily on the use of Copernicus satellite data: Sentinel-2 optical data and Sentinel-1 radar data. Observations from these satellites are now made reliably every 3-12 days around the world.



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