Submitted to: Geospatial Information in Agriculture and Forestry International Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 7, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Precision crop management (PCM) is an emerging agricultural management system designed to match management actions, such as fertilization levels, seeding rates, and variety selection, to changing field conditions. To satisfy the intense PCM requirements for crop and soil information, many practitioners are eager to use images from aircraft- or satellite-based sensors. The objective of this report was to assess the suitability of remote sensing technology for PCM applications. The three primary limitations of remotely sensed imagery for PCM were found to be the lack of an available orbiting system to provide regular images, the gap between user needs and available products, and the failure of research scientists to involve users in their research and to promote technology transfer. These limitations may soon be remedied with (1) the recent launch of a commercial satellite-based sensor; (2) the increase in the number of companies offering such quantitative remote sensing products as weed maps, insect maps, and more; and (3) the recent change in research laboratory environments to reward scientists for technology transfer and involvement of users in research program development. These advances should help remote sensing achieve its potential as an information source for PCM. Beneficiaries include agricultural producers, researchers, and consultants and providers of remote sensing products and information.
Technical Abstract: The objective of this paper was to assess remote sensing technology for precision farm management (PCM). The primary limitations were found to be the lack of an image-based remote sensing system dedicated to providing PCM-scale information, the gap between user needs and available products, and the failure of research scientists to involve users in their research and to promote technology transfer. These limitations may soon be remedied because of (1) the recent launch of the first commercial high-resolution satellite-based sensor, which will meet many PCM information requirements, and the pending launches of several more suitable commercial sensors; (2) responses of image providers to user requests for quantitative, validated products and individual help with image product interpretation; and (3) institution of systems by university and government research laboratories to reward research scientists for technology transfer and for involving users in research program development.