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Review: Crop monitoring systems

Having a lot of fragmented information about satellite crop monitoring systems (SCM) we decided to make more detailed review and compare different solutions where it is possible.

We took the most popular services available worldwide and compared them based on functionality.

Executive summary

 

Setup and update

System Cropio Farmsat Eleaf iSAT
Global Coverage + + + +
Multilanguage Interface + + + +
Web Access + + + +
Data Update Daily * * *
Minimum Parcel Size No * * *
* depends on the purchased images

One disadvantage of all systems is their high dependency on cloud coverage; therefore, we do not assign the maximum rating of 10 points to any of the systems. It is necessary to mention several of the systems are using a number of satellites – including microwave capable satellites. Such satellites “combined” decrease limitations resulting from cloud coverage and this significantly improves the frequency and quality of received data.

Maps

System Cropio Farmsat Eleaf iSAT
Digital Maps + + + +
Resolution 15X15* * * *
Relief and Drainage Maps + +
* depends on the purchased images
Image resolution is an essential quality criterion for satellite imaging. All services provide a wide range of resolutions. Some images are included in the basic service package, but usually the user charged an additional fee for high-resolution images. At the same time, some services already include high quality 15X15 meter images in their base service package; this eliminates complicated ordering procedures and makes the service more user friendly.

Fields

System Cropio Farmsat Eleaf iSAT
Field Zoning + + + +
Field Card + + + +

All services include a very efficient zoning tool based on different zoning criteria.

On field measures

System Cropio Farmsat Eleaf iSAT
NDVI Index + + + +
Nitrogen Deficit + ** +
Weather Forecast + + +
Precipitations + + + +
Soil Moisture +
Biomass **

** potato and beet

We assigned Cropio the highest score (not maximum) due to: a. the variety of on field measures; b. quality and depth of data; like: weather forecasting for individual field, soil moisture at the different depths, dew point, N-deficit of amount of required fertilizer, etc. Cropio has more on field capabilities and they are measured in real life units (kg, m3, cm).

Agronomist tools

System Cropio Farmsat Eleaf iSAT
Field Scouting Tool + + + +
Yield Forecast Assistant + **
Harvest Planner +
Automated Reports and Notifications +

** potato and beet

Agronomist tools greatly differ when comparing to other systems making it somewhat difficult compare. Theoretically, each system has enough or almost enough data to use the agronomist tools we list in our review but only one system incorporates user friendly instruments for reviewing tasks.

Manager tools

System Cropio Farmsat Eleaf iSAT
Market News and Data + ***
Harvest Estimate +
Automated Reports +

*** available in additional product

We separate Management tools from Agronomist tools since not all of these are necessary for the small famers with only 20 or 50 hectares. Although these very valuable features for mid and large sized companies that from now, for example, can have a better understanding of the harvest value at any point in time.

Additional tools

System Cropio Farmsat Eleaf iSAT
Field Zoning for Optimized Soil Tests + **** +
Integrated Private Weather Stations +

**** available at additional cost

Additional tools are tools that are not directly related to crop monitoring but could be very applicable in other areas, like lowering the cost of soil testing and integration of other systems.

Source: IEASSA, http://ieassa.org/en/satellite-corp-monitoring-review/

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