ESA title


  • ACTIVITYDemonstration Project
  • STATUSOngoing
  • THEMATIC AREAFood & Agriculture

Objectives of the service

The objective of the planned offering is to provide a commercial service for monitoring, reporting and verification of Carbon Farming. 

Carbon Farming means all activities agriculture can undertake for sustainable reduction and sequestration of CO2 from the atmosphere. One challenge in Carbon Farming is to independently assess and verify the actions taken as well as their impact on carbon sequestration.

The EO4CarbonFarming MRV Tool includes functionalities to monitor the carbon in plant and soil, to report on required measures like crop rotation and catch crop planting, and to verify them. Additionally, their impact can be evaluated. This enables performance assessment of sustainability measures and more resilient farming practices. Reliable determination of field carbon stocks is key to monitoring the climate impacts of carbon farming and to developing business models. 

Users and their needs

There are two main customer groups. Customers with performance-based remuneration for sustainability services, such as carbon certifiers, governmental agencies, NGOs and the agri and food industry, but also agricultural service companies.

Both groups have in common that they need reliable and cost-efficient reporting and verification for the sustainability measures that have been performed by the farmer. The first group additionally needs an independent assessment of the success of the carbon sequestration measures, while the second group needs an objective data source for their service offers and monitoring during the crop growth cycle as input for their decision support. All of these needs can be fulfilled with the EO4CarbonFarming MRV Tool.

The offering will initially target customers in Germany and Austria and can be expanded in the future.

Service/ system concept

At the center of the service is Vista’s MRV-tool, gathering and processing information from different sources. Satellite data are integrated with field data and the sophisticated crop growth model PROMET. There are two ways for the MRV-tool to receive data: either fully automated via API or in a less automated way e.g. via email. The tool delivers the outputs via API or visualized in the “EO4CF Cockpit”. 

The MRV-tool delivers the outputs:

  • soil organic carbon 

  • carbon stock in soil and plant 

  • catch crop detection 

  • proof of crop rotation 

Space Added Value

High-resolution satellite imagery is essential to the service and will be integrated with GNSS-located in-situ data. 

For the calculation of soil organic carbon content maps, Earth Observation data are used as input, giving a new degree of detail in comparison to soil sampling. Showing the variability of the soil organic carbon content within fields allows to monitor the success of specific sustainability measures e.g. to build up humus in specific parts of the field.

For the monitoring of crops during the growing season, optical satellite data analysis with a radiative transfer model to derive variables like leaf area, chlorophyll content and fraction of brown leaves is planned.  Additionally, coherence and backscatter of radar data will be analysed to derive harvest dates, soil moisture and soil management information.

Current Status

The user needs and requirements were successfully captured via several workshops and interviews with users in Germany. The focus for this was mainly on the user segments carbon farming sponsorships and ag industry, but users from the sectors of governmental institutions as well as ag consulting and farmers were also taken into account. 

The overall system architecture as well as the individual components of the system were successfully designed. Agreements for the provision of in-situ data for the pilot demonstration have been made. In order to provide a trial version of the proposed solution to end users, first results of soil organic carbon maps were produced. 

The Business Plan including market analysis and competitor’s analysis was updated.

The overall development is ongoing. The first set of in-house tests, consisting mostly of unit tests, have been successfully concluded. 

The next steps will be to proceed with the overall development and run the second set of tests, consisting mostly of integration tests for the full functionality of the proposed solution. Additionally, the pilot plan will be finalized. Soil organic content carbon maps for pilot sites will be produced and the monitoring during the cover crop season 2024/25 after SAT will be planned. The business analysis will be updated, especially concerning the commercialisation phase. User and customer engagement will be expanded to make the service offer more widely known as the pilot results become available as demo material. 

Status Date

Updated: 23 May 2024