How Satellite Imagery and Earth Observational Data are changing the Agricultural Game

Earth Observation (EO) and geospatial data have brought many benefits to agriculture. But what is fascinating is how satellites and government initiatives, such as the European Copernicus program, a program formed by the European Space Agency (ESA), have revolutionized the processes and procedures in agriculture for private businesses and other government initiatives. 

For years, farmers have practiced traditional framing. But because of the diverse and unpredictable factors associated with farming and agriculture, the data collected and analyzed from satellite imagery has quickly become essential in furthering the progress in farming innovations and all things agriculture. 

Increase production of crop yielding 

Farmers consistently struggle with uphill battles dealing with low agricultural production. Due to unpredictable weather conditions and patterns, land resources, constant changes in growing conditions caused by climate change, and various irrigation needs due to the weather and the territory itself. 

For these reasons, EO data has brought cost-effective and valuable data to farmers who seek consistent and repeated crop yields. It can be difficult for a farmer to determine if his crops are ready to harvest, especially dealing with vast amounts of acres of land. And for these reasons, satellite imagery has become a reliable tool during harvest time. Farmers can capture the full scope of the field within minutes (possibly seconds) and without having to drastically drive up spending and even obtain an accurate reading of the land, better than if they had walked the territory themselves. 

Monitoring the sustainable use of natural resources

Another aspect of satellite imagery is the precision that the images contain, which allows farmers to analyze the health and conditions of the land and crop, which leads to farmers optimizing the resources and agriculture inputs. For instance, farmers can precisely measure the fertilizer needed in their fields. Having the proper amount and type of fertilizer can prevent diseases and ultimately maximize plant growth. 

Farmers can see the area(s) needing additional fertilizers since fields typically tend to be unevenly distributed. Another benefit of satellite imagery, when obtained through a customizable platform like Imageryst, is that the data is collected and compared to previous years. Farmers can then experiment with various fertilizer types to see which works best, where, and for which vegetation. 

Measuring the moisture content of crops

It can be a mystery how satellite imagery can pick up such small yet significant data readings from space. But satellites use remote sensing to capture minute details and give accurate readings. For example, satellites can measure the evapotranspiration within croplands through remote sensing. In other words, it can accurately read and monitor the amount of water that has evaporated from individual croplands. Farmers can decisively determine the water needed in their fields and prevent excessive water usage. 

Environmental protection 

Because of its affordability and vast visibility to capture a broad scope of land, the satellite has become a tool for environmental protection and monitoring surveillance of ethical farming practices.

For example, a relevant subject in ethical farming practices is the commitment to zero-deforestation from farming and food production companies. Through the images provided by satellite imagery, government agencies or food companies can compare previous years to ensure that forestlands are protected. Luckily, satellite imagery can hold companies accountable for their promise to stop unpermitted deforestation.  

Monitoring of climate patterns 

The implication of weather in agriculture is just as important as monitoring the soil and the fertilizer. Extreme weather patterns can reap havoc on farmers and even on economies. For this reason, farmers and governments need timely, accurate, and precise data to create reliable warning systems. 

Farmers can build resilience toward unpredictable weather. Whether excessive rain, fluctuating temperatures, or droughts, farmers can take decisive and confident actions in preparation for extreme weather conditions. 

Undoubtedly, satellite imagery is a game-changer in sectors like agriculture. And the benefits and implications in agriculture seem to be vastly growing and becoming more relevant to the success of farming. But many farmers and companies still believe that obtaining satellite imagery is a luxury that is unattainable and out-of-this-world. Luckily, satellite imagery is accessible and affordable through platforms such as Imageryst, which companies and government agencies can access satellite imagery when needed. 

So whether it’s wanting to obtain data to improve farming practices or carefully monitoring field conditions or compliances and company commitments, satellite imagery has impacted agriculture, and we will see how EO and geospatial data will affect other sectors and industries.

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