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Predicting crop yield with remote sensing data

Crop yield prediction in Agriculture
8 mins read |

The quantity and quality of crops produced in the world is a major factor affecting food security. This is especially important in developing countries where agriculture is still an important part of the economy. To predict crop yield, we need to understand how much sunlight plants receive and how much water they need. Plant growth depends on these two factors, but many other factors affect plant growth such as temperature, humidity, and soil type.

Remote sensing data can be used to estimate quantities of light received by plants and thus predict crop yield. Remote sensing data is a powerful tool for estimating crop yield. It provides information on the growing crops and their environment, allowing you to estimate crop production. Remote sensing data is a form of data analytics in agriculture that can be used to predict crop yield before the harvest. This article explores everything you need to know about remote sensing data.

What is yield data in agriculture?

Yield data is information on the amount of crop produced by a farmer or farmer group. It includes the amount of crop harvested per hectare of land. This can be measured in tonnes, bushels, or any other unit of measurement depending on the crop. Yield data is important when it comes to agriculture because it can help farmers determine how much they should plant next season. In addition, yield data allows them to determine if there’s a problem with their crops that needs to be addressed.

Yield data can also be used to monitor progress toward global goals set by governments, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders. In addition, yield data is used to identify strengths and weaknesses in farming practices and make recommendations based on this information. Yield data is useful in making informed decisions about many aspects of farming, such as:

Data analytics in  precision agriculture

Seed selection: Choosing varieties and hybrids based on yield data can help ensure that fields are planted with the most profitable seeds available.

Pest management: By monitoring plant growth, yield data can help farmers determine when to introduce pest control measures. This can reduce the use of pesticides and increase profits.

Irrigation scheduling: Using information from yield monitors allows farmers to fine-tune irrigation scheduling, which helps conserve water and money while maintaining high yields.

What is remote sensing data?

Remote sensing is the science of acquiring information about an object or phenomenon without being in direct contact with the object and thus in a non-intrusive manner. It is used in agriculture to monitor crops, soil, and moisture conditions. Remote sensing uses electromagnetic radiation (EMR) emissions such as those emitted by radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, and ultraviolet light.

Remote sensing of crops provides a way to measure crop growth conditions over time. It also provides information on the state of crops at specific points in time and space. This information can be used to estimate crop yields and provide estimates of when the harvest should occur. Remotely sensed data can be used to measure land-use changes, monitor crop growth, and yield, detect soil moisture and salinity levels, determine pest infestation levels, monitor environmental pollution levels, etc.


So, for example, if you’re walking through a field and looking at the plants, you’re collecting data about them. If you’re driving around in a helicopter or plane and looking at the plants from above, you’re collecting remote sensing data. There are many different types of remote sensing techniques and devices used to collect this data: satellite images, aerial photos, radar systems, lidar, and more.

How does it work?

The following data sources are combined to create a varied weighting on yield projection numbers based on the present cropping season circumstances in various regions. Farmers Edge data scientists combine these data sources with the most recent advances in machine learning to update yield forecast estimates whenever a major yield component is disrupted.

1. Preseason data

Preseason data must be accurate to lay the groundwork for Yield Prediction. This information is available before the crop is planted, and it lays the stage for the first yield prediction readings. Data such as a field’s location, current and previous crops, field-specific weather months before planting or seeding, soil test information and data, and regional weather trends over the last decade are all combined to provide insight into how to start the season with accurate yield numbers to anticipate.

2. In-season data

In-season data provides insight into variables that affect yield throughout the growing season after the foundation has been laid. Farmers Edge on-farm weather stations give field-centric data that enhances these datasets by delivering expected and predicted values that are stored and then reset when data comes in each day, advancing the models. Other in-season data, like fertilizer application, is also taken into account during the season, whether planned or not, to improve field diagnostics and offer forecast yield values.

3. Crop-specific data

Farmers Edge’s wide network of local agronomists may also provide crop-specific data during the growing season. Farmers Edge agronomists have identified crop-specific data that impacts yield during a growing season, including water content during major growth stages or hours above cardinal temperatures for crops during key yield determining periods, for the five main crops in yield prediction (corn, canola, lentils, soybeans, and wheat).

4. Crop and field imagery

High-resolution satellite imagery is used to set NDVI crop health values on fields fast and precisely, allowing researchers to look for erroneous results or regional concerns with crops that could affect yield. These regional trends can be used to determine if areas are on track for forecast or whether environmental factors have distorted the prediction values.

5. Histogram data

Farmers Edge Yield Prediction models use big statistics to find different distributions in field images over time, which then offers clarity to a convolutional neural network that can use these modifications to forecast yield across large areas, such as the United States or Canada, as imagery changes over time.

Remote sensing data

It’s not simple to anticipate production before the harvester runs through the field, but the Farmers Edge team is thrilled to provide producers with yield predictions based on complete and accurate statistics. Each data source has a weight in yield prediction, which can be changed based on the model parameters.

How to increase crop yield with precision technologies?

Farm owners have debated and worked on raising agricultural yields for generations. Some of the methods discovered were effective, while others were ineffective. In addition to the invaluable experience of earlier generations of farmers, the agriculture industry may now profit from modern scientific and technological advancements. Let’s take a look at the most common ways for farmers to boost crop yields and how previous experience and new technology can be utilized to boost agricultural productivity.

1. Proper irrigation

Farmers that want to boost their average crop output per acre on their farms need a well-designed irrigation system. Providing the right amount of water to the plants has a direct impact on their development and, as a result, agricultural yields. Weather forecasts are crucial for effective irrigation of farmlands. Hyper-local weather forecasting is now possible thanks to today’s technologies, which include customized programs and software for farmers. It makes precision irrigation possible by allowing farmers to prepare ahead of time and schedule irrigation of their crops most exactly and efficiently possible.

2. Soil testing and its quality

One of the most important factors affecting crop yields is soil quality or fertility. Aside from agricultural production, soil quality has an impact on how much it costs a farmer to cultivate a certain plant, as some of them require specific ratios of specific elements in the soil, such as mineral particles, organic matter, water, and air. Farmers must regularly monitor soil conditions on their land plots to achieve higher agricultural yields. Crop rotation is one of the most effective techniques to keep the soil healthy, among other things. Plant rotation on a specific field plot avoids soil fatigue and interrupts insect cycles, resulting in higher agricultural output and, as a result, higher average crop yield per acre.

3. Quality of seeds

The quality of seeds used by farmers to sow their fields has an impact on agricultural production. As a result, agrarians are advised to sow only certified seeds that have passed all necessary quality controls on their farmlands to increase agricultural yield. Certified seeds may be more expensive than uncertified seeds, but the result will be worth it because seed quality is one of the most important elements affecting crop productivity. Aside from that, using only high-quality seeds is one of the most environmentally responsible ways to boost crop productivity. A farmer can examine the quality of specific seeds by contacting a relevant seed business and arranging customized trials on a specific parcel of land if necessary.

Aside from that, it’s crucial to understand that seed quality isn’t permanent or unaffected. From the moment they are sown in the earth, seed grains require protection. One of the seed treatment strategies used to achieve this is seed coating. It is the technique of encasing seed grains in exterior materials to improve their properties (weight, size) and/or providing them with active chemicals (micronutrients, microbial inoculants, growth regulators, and so on) to protect them from plant diseases and enhance their growth.

4. Smart application of fertilizers

Fertilizers are designed to nourish different types of soil, enhance plant growth, and increase harvests, but their use should be balanced and judicious. Overuse of fertilizers can have a severe impact on soil quality and, as a result, agricultural productivity. Various regions of a field may require different levels of soil fertilization, so the best approach is to use fertilizers selectively, according to the demands of different field zones. This precise approach to field fertilizing keeps the soil healthy, resulting in higher average crop yields per acre.

A Crop Monitoring software is one of the technology options in this context. It contains a field zoning tool that separates farmland into 2-7 zones based on satellite photography, identifying places that require more attention than others. Growers frequently employ precision technology as one of the most environmentally friendly ways to boost crop yield.

5. Crop protection methods

Agriculturists who want to boost crop yields must look after their plants throughout their growth and until the end of the growing season. Farmers use a variety of compounds to reduce the influence of weeds, pests, and diseases on crop productivity, depending on the situation. Herbicides, insecticides, desiccants, plant growth regulators, fungicides, adjuvants, and other chemicals are common examples. Crop protection can be done in a variety of ways. Weed/pest control and plant disease control are two of the most important.

6. Plant disease prevention and management

Plant infections are another significant hazard to a grower’s agricultural performance. Farmers can use a variety of plant disease prevention and management methods, like choosing disease-resistant or disease tolerant varieties, treating seeds with fungicides, and applying pesticides and other similar substances to developing plants, depending on the type of plants to be grown on a field. Agrarians should pay extra attention to when they use these or other tactics so that they have the most impact. It’s necessary to keep in mind that timely plant protection is critical for the crop yield per acre indication — the earlier a problem is recognized, the faster and easier it will be resolved, and the lesser fields acres will be impacted.

7. Weed and pest management

During the growing season, farmers’ primary challenges are weed control and pest management. A single weed, for example, can produce over 10 million weed seeds, which, if not controlled promptly, can significantly reduce yields on a given field and cause difficulties for years. Agrarians must also take a holistic response to pest infestations. Farmers must constantly be ready to respond to pest infestation issues promptly because pests are highly adaptive and fast-reproducing organisms that might jeopardize the produce on specific farmland.

In this article, we have discussed the concept of crop yield prediction and its applications in agriculture. We have also provided an overview of how to increase crop yield with precision technologies. Crop yield prediction is a major concern for farmers as it directly affects their profit margin. If a farmer knows how much yield he can expect from his land, he can plan his crops accordingly and increase his profit margin. This is why it is important to predict crop yield accurately before planting any crop on a particular land.

Crop yield prediction with GeoPard

Crop yield prediction has been an important issue in agronomy since ancient times. It is critical to food security, especially at times of drought, floods, or other natural disasters. Crop yield prediction is also used by farmers to make decisions about when to plant and harvest crops based on soil moisture content, pest infestations, and other factors such as weather conditions and fertilizer requirements. To make more informed decisions and improve growing efficiency with Yield Data, click here to request a demo now.

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