Using Satellite Solutions For Sowing Campaigns
On February 28, 2023, EOS Data Analytics, a global provider of AI-powered satellite imagery analytics, held an open webinar in Ukrainian dedicated to the usage of satellite solutions in preparation to the sowing season in Ukraine.
The webinar was focused on the problems and challenges farmers face in 2023, as well as the features and benefits of EOSDA’s technological solutions that can be useful before the sowing season. The viewers also learned about the cultivation of soil, its technological properties and parameters for assessing its condition, as well as cases of practical usage of the EOSDA Crop Monitoring platform.
To check out the presentation (in Ukrainian), please follow this link.
The webinar was attended by representatives of agricultural holdings, agro-consultants, agronomists, farmers, and distributors of seeds, fertilizers, agricultural machinery, and crop protection products.
Vitalii Vyshniak, Business Development Manager at EOS Data Analytics, and Vasyl Cherlinka, Soil Scientist at EOS Data Analytics, made presentations.
When talking about preparations for the sowing season in Ukraine, we need to understand the realities in which it is taking place. Russia’s full-scale invasion has caused a number of problems in the agricultural sector, which, according to forecasts, will lead to a forced reduction in fertilizer use in particular and, as a result, a drop in yields in general in the new season. Ukrainian farmers are also suffering losses due to rising logistics costs and low grain prices. That is why it is more important than ever to conduct the sowing campaign as efficiently as possible.
For a successful sowing campaign, it is necessary to pay attention to crop rotation and fertilizer system, but the most important task will be quality soil preparation, which includes loosening the topsoil, incorporating post-harvest residues and fertilizers, and fighting weeds and pests. For this purpose, various tillage systems are available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, but all of them require first and foremost knowledge of the soil’s technological parameters, including its cohesion, plasticity, and stickiness, the optimal values of which are summarized by the term “physical soil maturity.”
In spring, tillage has two stages: early spring and pre-sowing. At the first stage, measures are taken to preserve moisture (harrowing and plowing), and at the second stage, cultivation or rolling is added in accordance with the technological map of cultivation. Each individual crop has its own requirements for time, weather conditions, and tillage depth, according to which pre-sowing activities must be carried out.
In these processes, satellite solutions can help assess field conditions and prepare for spring tillage. The relevant technologies allow monitoring vegetation, assessing crop condition, detecting weeds, pests and diseases, and even predicting yields. Such capabilities are especially useful when it comes to implementing precision farming methods that increase the potential of agricultural production.
The EOSDA Crop Monitoring toolkit is based on the methodology of measuring reflected light radiation in different spectral ranges by plants and soil. Based on this data, various vegetation indices can be calculated, which provide ample opportunities to determine the qualitative and quantitative indicators of soil and plants.
For example, EOSDA Crop Monitoring can be used to determine moisture reserves and calculate the moment of physical maturity of the soil, i.e. to choose the best time to start early spring cultivation. Meteorological data can also provide additional information for this purpose, including both historical data since 1979 and a forecast for the next 14 days.
By visualizing fields and their productivity, it is possible to remotely assess the dynamics of indicators such as soil temperature and moisture, and thus determine best sowing times without the need for agronomists to go to the fields.
EOSDA Crop Monitoring also allows monitoring almost two dozen vegetation indices. The most popular of them, NDVI, is an indicator of plant health based on the ability of plants to reflect and absorb light waves of different lengths. With this indicator, agronomists are able to track the development and dynamics of crops, which in the spring is important to assess the condition of winter crops and make adjustments to the planned doses of fertilizers.
In addition, EOSDA Crop Monitoring helps to optimize seeding and fertilizer rates. If there is a large variation in soil conditions on the field, optimization of seed and fertilizer amounts will be required to equalize yields across the entire area.
Differentiated sowing and fertilization based on mathematically processed and analyzed averaged series of vegetation index maps, soil and relief data creates opportunities to increase yields and economic benefits by an average of 10%.
Ultimately, a successful sowing season requires not only data, but also effective work on the field. EOSDA Crop Monitoring includes a mobile application that allows farmers not only to work with data on the go or in the absence of Internet connection, but also to assign tasks to scouts and monitor their implementation.
In the last part of the webinar, the speakers demonstrated practical examples of how EOSDA’s remote sensing data can be used. For example, satellite data was used to model a soil map, track water erosion, and determine the optimal time for tillage based on information about soil moisture and air temperature in the field.