Crop monitoring & yield forecasting system based on Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and process-based crop growth model: Development and validation in South and South East Asian Countries

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Tri Deri Setiyono, International Rice Research Institute, Alexandria, VA, United States
Accurate and timely information on rice crop growth and yield helps governments and other stakeholders adapting their economic policies and enables relief organizations to better anticipate and coordinate relief efforts in the wake of a natural catastrophe. Such delivery of rice growth and yield information is made possible by regular earth observation using space-born Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology combined with crop modeling approach to estimate yield. Radar-based remote sensing is capable of observing rice vegetation growth irrespective of cloud coverage, an important feature given that in incidences of flooding the sky is often cloud-covered. The system allows rapid damage assessment over the area of interest. Rice yield monitoring is based on a crop growth simulation and SAR-derived key information, particularly start of season and leaf growth rate. Results from pilot study sites in South and South East Asian countries suggest that incorporation of SAR data into crop model improves yield estimation for actual yields. Remote-sensing data assimilation into crop model effectively capture responses of rice crops to environmental conditions over large spatial coverage, which otherwise is practically impossible to achieve. Such improvement of actual yield estimates offers practical application such as in a crop insurance program. Process-based crop simulation model is used in the system to ensure climate information is adequately captured and to enable mid-season yield forecast.