Mapping rice in the USA with Earth Observations in real time
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
The USA is a major rice growing nation and one of the top rice exporters. Weather variability, water resources, and price volatility are current risks to rice production. To support risk management the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service and Economic Research Service are tasked with providing area statistics and production estimates. A Decision Support Tool (DST) is being developed to provide real-time estimates of rice extent and indicators of condition. The DST is largely driven by multi-scale Earth Observations including Landsat and MODIS that provide daily and 8-day indices that are sensitive to rice growth status and management practices. A multitemporal Classification And Regression Tree approach ingests multiscale imagery in real time to provide rice crop metrics. We hindcast the archives of Landsat (1984-2014) and MODIS (2002-2014) for California and achieve >80% accuracy by June and >95% accuracy by end of July as compared to the Crop Data Layer and county statistics. Outcomes are similar for the Midsouth rice region. The DST was utilized to assess the impact of current drought in California on rice. We predicted a 20% reduction in rice area based on our near time rice extent projections and assuming yields similar to 2013 and recent USDA average farm price estimates, 2014 production losses associated with the drought will amount to approximately $175 million. Additional results using Radarsat-2 in the Midsouth in preparation of ALOS-2 and Sentintel will be shared.