Satellite imagery may help farmers make crop management decisions

Remote sensingjpg

A satellite image that shows plant height from a rice field.
Dr. Luciano Shiratsuchi is working to calibrate ground-based
remote sensing data with satellite imagery to provide detailed
information to help farmers predict yields.

Luciano Shiratsuchi, LSU AgCenter precision agriculture state specialist, is working on a project that will help farmers use satellite imagery products from their fields to make better crop management decisions.

“My work specifically with rice is to create a network of ground control points to support consultants and users of satellite imagery,” Shiratsuchi said.

The satellite images must be calibrated with data gathered from fields. Without calibration, he said, the satellite images are meaningless. “When you calibrate, you can use the data to create several consistent zones,” he said.

He worked in 2019 to collect data from ground sensors on six rice farms and at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station, but next year he will use two drones and high-clearance ground rigs to provide considerably more data in a shorter time frame.

“We will be able to do 500 data points quickly, but this year it took eight hours to take data from 10 points,” he said.

He said a master’s degree student will work on the project in 2020.

With calibration, the satellite image products can reveal a leaf area index to support pesticide applications, growth of plants and plant height throughout a field.

Ultimately, he said, farmers should be able to use the information to predict yields and make yield maps for those that don’t have yield monitors with GPS. That could help a farmer decide whether to invest more time and money in a field, Shiratsuchi said, and it will allow for earlier crop marketing decisions.

12/19/2019 8:35:36 PM
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