Growth Stages: Get To Know Your Crops Better

Understanding the stages of a plants’ growth is essential to successful crop monitoring. Although satellites cannot measure the stages of vegetative growth directly, they can measure the daily temperatures and calculate their total sum over time. Based on this data, Crop Monitoring is capable of detecting growth stages for various types of plants.

BBCH Scale

Our app displays growth stages according to the international BBCH scale. We know that the sets of stages differ from crop to crop and have adjusted them accordingly.

Geography And Crops

At the moment, we only offer this feature for the following countries and crops:

Ukraine Russia Canada USA
Spring barley Spring barley Spring barley Spring barley
Maize Maize Maize Maize
Winter rapeseed Winter rapeseed Winter rapeseed Winter rapeseed
Soybean Soybean Soybean Soybean
Sugarbeet Sugarbeet Sugarbeet Sugarbeet
Sunflower Sunflower Sunflower Sunflower
Winter wheat Winter wheat Winter wheat Winter wheat
Peas

Visual Representation

Let’s navigate growth stages in the application. By default, when you log in you are in the Fields tab. As soon as you select a field, a chart will automatically appear just below the map. There, among the vegetation indices and weather data curves of different colors, you will see a number of perpendicular vertical yellow dashed rays. They seem to stem from the leaf-within-a-circle icons. These are growth stages for this field’s crop. In the legend above the chart, you can find the indicator with the same name. If it’s on, the legend has a dark yellow color assigned to it. You can turn it off with a single click (the color will disappear).

enabled growth stages curve in chart on Crop Monitoring

disabled growth stages curve in chart on Crop Monitoring

Note: If you have just added a new field, you won’t see any growth stages for its crop displayed automatically. And if you try to manually click them on, this window will pop up:

notification window saying that user needs to add crop type and sowing date to see growth stages data

That’s because to actually see the growth stages on the chart you need to tell the system two important bits of information first:

  • Crop name
  • Sowing date

Locate the sidebar with the general field info (it is on the right side of the screen), and find the little Crop rotation bar. Under the Sowing Date, click +Add.

how to add crop type and sowing date on Crop Monitoring

Do not let the default settings trick you. If you see the crops already selected for you, but no growth stages on the chart, do it yourself in several easy steps:

  1. Click +Add and wait for an edit window to pop up in the center of the screen.

window to enter crop type and sowing date on a field

2. Set all of the crop names and sowing dates you need by clicking on the little arrows and calendar icons.

entering all crop types and their sowing dates

3. Click “Save” and you are done.

saving the crop types and sowing dates

When you are done setting the growth stages feature up, you should see them on the chart displayed automatically, like below:

displaying growth stages after adding crop types and their sowing dates on Crop Monitoring

In this example, four different stages of germination for the sugar beet are displayed. To find out what they are, hover the mouse cursor over the leaf-within-circle icons, or anywhere over the dashed rays. Here, the stages are “leaf development,” “rosette growth,” “development of harvestable vegetative plant parts,” and “beetroot has reached harvestable size.”

Below is an example of a hovercard for a “flowering” stage, with three annual vegetation indices values (for the same date of the three different years), and the minimum/maximum air temperatures. This is a slice of several types of data for a particular growth stage.

example of a hovercard for a “flowering” stage, with three annual vegetation indices values

Check The Dates

As you can see, the dates below the chart tell you when a certain stage of a plant’s growth begins or ends. For example, the leaf development of sugar beet began some time between 16th of April and 6th of May. Though, if you zoom in on the chart, by using the mouse wheel, you will see the exact date.

start of leaf development of sugar beet date on Crop Monitoring chart

Similarly, the second and the third stages began in the first days of June and around 23rd of June, respectively.

the second and third stages of sugar beet growth on Crop Monitoring chart

Compare The Data

Let’s focus on this illustration a little longer. The horizontal curves of different colors stand for NDVI as well as minimum and maximum air temperatures. Here’s the fun part: thanks to the perpendicular relationship between these curves and the growth stages vertically dashed rays, it is easy to see where they intersect. In other words, you can tell the exact NDVI value, as well as the temperature, at the starting and end point of any growth stage.

camparing crop growth stages with other indicators

The same holds true for the curves related to:

  • Precipitation
  • Cold stress
  • Heat stress

Which you can turn on by switching between the Weather Data settings on the left.

adding and removing different curves on Crop Monitoring chart

Where Can You Find Growth Stages?

So far we have been dealing only with the chart in the Fields tab. Yet there is one more place with charts where you can see how the growth stages correlate with other types of data. That place is the Historical Weather panel of the Weather analytics tab, of course.

growth stages on historical weather analitics charts on Crop Monitoring

All four charts display the vegetative stages of growth for a particular crop. They correlate with:

  • Accumulated Precipitation
  • Daily Precipitation
  • Daily Temperatures
  • Sum of Active Temperatures

You can clearly see what was happening to your winter rapeseed (for instance) during its three different plant growth stages: how much precipitation was there and how the temperatures influenced the crop’s growth.

Benefits, Benefits, Benefits!

Once you get the gist of how to navigate growth stages in the application, it will become easier to trace the development of your crops and know its correlation with the vegetation indices and weather data. Benefit from the analytical tool that relies on space imagery and gathers data conveniently, in one place. May your crops live long and prosper!

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