ESA title


  • ACTIVITYKick-start Activity
  • STATUSOngoing
  • THEMATIC AREAFood & Agriculture

Objectives of the service

Farmers often face the challenge of traveling long distances to remote fields, only to discover that the ground is too wet to work on. In some cases, this even results in their vehicles getting stuck in the muddy soil. During the harvest season, farmers frequently drive from field to field to perform test harvesting and find that the crop is not yet ready. Similarly, while spraying herbicides and fungicides, farmers struggle to determine the precise areas that need treatment, leading to inefficient use of chemicals and potential harm to the environment.

To address these challenges, the Kick-Start activity aims to develop several innovative services: driveability maps, site-specific application maps for fungicides and herbicides, and harvest sequence maps for crop maturity. Driveability maps will help farmers assess soil moisture and avoid getting stuck in the mud. Site-specific application maps will enable precise spraying of herbicides and fungicides, ensuring efficient use of chemicals and minimizing environmental impact. Harvest sequence maps will guide farmers on the optimal time to harvest their crops, reducing unnecessary trips and improving overall efficiency. These services will enhance agricultural productivity, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness.

Users and their needs

The primary users of the proposed services are farmers and agricultural organizations, seeking solutions for optimal agricultural practices. These services provide crucial information on the timing of fieldwork and optimized resource allocation for fungicides and herbicides. Specifically, farmers need to:

  • Be aware of the optimal timing for operating agricultural machinery to avoid unnecessary field trips.

  • Identify the presence and exact location of weeds on their farms, allowing for precise herbicide application.

  • Address crop diseases and occurrence risks promptly to prevent their spread and optimize yield production.

The proposed services aim to meet these needs by offering driveability maps, site-specific application maps for fungicides and herbicides, and harvest sequence maps for crop maturity.

One consideration for the project is that user requirements differ from region to region, as observed during user consultation in Germany and the Middle East. Scaling the services to different agro-ecological zones necessitates addressing these varying needs effectively. The development of advanced tools must provide accurate, actionable information tailored to the specific needs of farmers and agricultural organizations across diverse regions.

Service/ system concept

Agrotechs is a cloud-based solution with a flexible framework to integrate SatEO and terrestrial data for the processing and provision of the information products that support sustainable farming practices. The system integrates all required input data, including satellite imagery, weather data, IoT data, and field boundaries. It computes the information products through an automated processing pipeline, and delivers them to customers via a web-based portal. This portal allows users to browse the information products and download them as georeferenced maps. Thereby the system is designed to meet the varying needs and requirements of different customer segments. 

Space Added Value

The services utilize optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite imagery, ranging from commercial to freely accessible data, to address gaps not yet fully covered by current solutions. Farmers often manually determine the best time for agricultural driveability and the sequence of fields to harvest at the ripening stage. These services enable farmers to identify optimal soil moisture conditions for machinery operation and determine harvest sequence from satellite data, thereby saving money by efficiently renting machinery and reducing fuel consumption. To avoid excessive use of fungicides and herbicides, farmers can target only the infested areas detected by the services, rather than spraying the entire field.

Freely accessible SAR imagery, such as Sentinel-1, is used to identify driveability conditions. Sentinel-2 and Landsat data series are employed to detect crop ripening stages and optimize the harvest sequence. For site-specific fungicide and herbicide applications, high-resolution commercial satellites like PlanetScope provide accurate locations of infested areas. The scalability of satellite imagery allows for monitoring large areas, offering an advantage over UAV or aerial images.

Current Status

After the Kick-off in March 2024, the project has progressed significantly. SBI engaged with individual farmers and cooperatives in Germany and the Middle-East to gather user requirements, conducting detailed needs assessments with these stakeholders. These efforts resulted in the creation of a blueprint for developing customised services. Currently, technical and economic solutions are being designed, with the aim of supporting sustainable and resilient farming practices. The team is preparing to showcase these solutions with selected users to validate their effectiveness and gather feedback for further refinement.

Status Date

Updated: 04 July 2024