Pixalytics: Satellite Enabled Solutions Help Smallholder Farmers to Address Food Security
In our world of highly dynamic and fluctuating weather conditions, poorly-informed decision making can affect the germination and establishment of crops and optimal grazing management. Pixalytics is developing a suite of Earth Observation (EO) products that focus on field water stress; including looking at indicators such as soil moisture, evapotranspiration and open water extent. These types of EO forecasting systems provide farmers with tools that enable them to determine the best times to sow, fertilise and harvest their crops.
Models informed by EO data have the potential to reliably forecast crop growth and soil moisture characteristics to better manage farming decisions. Rothamsted Research's North Wyke Farm Platform offers ground truth data to help calibrate and validate such EO informed models.
The Impact Lab project will be managed by Rothamsted Research's Dr Paul Harris. The University of Plymouth is also providing support on remote sensing and computational modelling.
The efficacy of these EO products will be tested at the North Wyke Farm Platform using in-situ measurements to evaluate water-based forecasts for different crops and soil types at a high spatial and temporal resolution.
The North Wyke Farm Platform is an ideal test bed for such a EO-based product where not only current but also historical in-situ soil moisture data can be accessed for product evaluation.
The farm platform monitors both grasslands with livestock, and arable land with wheat; and this suite of EO products will offer user-friendly solutions supporting both agronomists and farmers alike.
Dr Samantha Lavender of Pixalytics said: “The efficacy of these EO products were tested at the North Wyke Farm Platform using in-situ measurements for evaluation, showing a good degree of correlation with our EO products. The team at Rothamsted Research also identified a number of potential developments we could implement to further enhance them.”
Dr Khalid Mahmood, innovation manager said: “The farm platform data provided a benchmark to test the validity of the EO products that would help end-users to establish their trust for choosing farming decisions at the right time and right spot.”
Sarah Fear said: “This was an exciting project giving the opportunity for the project partners to bring together expertise to develop private sector innovation.”
- Dr Samantha Lavender, Managing Director
- Robert Page, Senior Earth Observation Scientist
- Dr Khalid Mahmood, Rothamsted Research
- Dr Paul Harris, Rothamsted Research
- Sarah Fear, University of Plymouth