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New Applications for Satellite Data in Agriculture

New Applications for Satellite Data in Agriculture

Satellites can be used to identify planting and harvest dates

By Diego Flammini

Satellites in agriculture have typically been used for variable rate applications, creating management zones and other uses.

But new uses are on the horizon.

Greg Crutsinger, customer success manager at Planet, identified multiple new applications for satellite in agriculture.

They include:

-    Improving yield estimation
-    Tracking crop phenology
-    Extracting actual field boundaries
-    Identifying planting and harvest dates
-    Improving forage use efficiency
-    Monitoring best management practices
-    Following field trials and experiments

When it comes to tracking crop phenology, for example, Planet’s satellites can provide a clearer picture of the growing season.

“Being able to smooth out those trajectories and the shapes of those curves in better ways, is really interesting,” Crutsinger told the 2021 Virtual Precision Agriculture Conference and Ag Technology Showcase in November.

Planet captures about 4 million images of the planet every day.

This provides an extensive catalogue for farmers to look at to identify trends or issues on their farms.

“Because we’re always on monitoring, you’re able to go back and see something that happened last year,” added Crutsinger. 

Looking even further down the road, Planet is developing a Carbon Mapper tool.
Planet will use it to track methane and other aspects around emissions and climate change.

This tool will allow farmers to make very specific on-farm decisions, Crutsinger said.

“Now we can really start dialing in very custom applications within agriculture related to the chemistry of the plant, or maybe other aspects that we’re interested in for disease or soil issues,” he said. “I think it’ll really raise the level for the future of the science.”

Planet is also planning to launch new satellites.

These satellites, called Pelican, will deliver high-resolution, rapid revisit insights, anywhere on the planet.

More news on Pelican is expected in the coming months, Crutsinger said.

This article was featured in the December 2021 Precision Agriculture Digital Digest — view it here.

Watch Greg Crutsinger's presentation at the 2021 Virtual Precision Agriculture Conference & Ag Technology Showcase below.

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