B4 - Remote sensing

Technical action B4

 Use of remote sensing techniques to adjust N inputs in crops at an advanced phenological stage.

To date, among the most popular and used tools to adjust the crop fertilization, the sampling and the analysis of soil excel, since they provide real information and easily interpretable. There are also more complicated devices, such as optical sensors, or other indirect methods that also allow realising recommendations on fertilizer needed for crops.

The introduction of the use of remote sensing in agriculture offers the possibility to get very interesting information and cover, at the same time, a large cultivated area, which increases the efficiency of the resources used.

Remote sensing is based on obtaining information about objects without physical contact. Information is got by measuring the reflectance that these objects (crops, in this case) send out at a certain time. To capture this radiation, sensor devices adapted in cameras located on aerial platforms are used. In the case of Futur Agrari project, three types of platforms had been chosen: satellites, manned aerial vehicles (light airplane) and unmanned aerial vehicles (drones). The purpose of using three types of platforms is to evaluate if they are technically and economically feasible to decide the need or not of the inputs of nitrogen on crops in advanced state of development.

On the one hand, the technical feasibility will be evaluated according to the effectiveness to identify, by the interpretation of the images, situations of variability on agrarian properties, either being lack of fertilization, water stress situations or other problems that are difficult to detect on ground plot. However, the project must go further and obtain spectral indices that identify variations on crops caused only by N.

On the other hand, the economic feasibility will allow getting an idea of the costs of their use per unit of surface and by each type of platform used.

Progress / Results

Objectives B4 Remote sensing

  • Adapting the methodologies of use of images related to the nutritional state of crops for the recommendations of fertilization to the conditions of Catalonia.
  • Providing information, based on these technologies, to the involved stakeholders (technicians and farmers) that will allow them to decide on the need or not to fertilize in advanced stages. 

Localization B4 - Remote sensing