Remote sensing reveals record agriculture yields

By on 18 August, 2016


Strong rainfall across Western Australia this winter has led industry groups to predict a 16 percent increase in agricultural crop yields and perhaps the overall record for crop yields in the state. The difference compared to last year is clearly visible in satellite imagery derived from GreenPrecision that analyses the Normalised Digitised Vegetation Index, or NDVI, a key indicator of plant health.

Based on early winter rainfall, the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia predicted a 10.7 million tonne wheat crop and a 17.3 million tonne overall winter crop for the state. If correct, this year’s yield would surpass the record 10.2 million tonnes wheat crop of grown in 2013 and represent a 16 percent increase on the 2015 yield.

The new GreenPrecision tool from NGIS and CSBP Fertilisers was used to visualise this change from last year using remote sensing data analysis. Released earlier this year, GreenPrecision is a free farming GIS tool that provides satellite derived data for any farm in the world. To view the reported change across Western Australian, for example, simply slide the vertical bar below to view the changes.


In Wongan Hills (shown above) the annual rainfall to the end of July this year is more than 60% higher than the same time last year and is the highest total to July since 1999.

To interpret the GreenPrecision findings, the orange and yellow areas represent low vegetation greenness and health. The blue and purple areas represent high vegetation greenness and health.


On the GreenPrecision webmap, users can view analysis right down to the paddock level to determine how crops are progressing compared to previous months and years. In the case of Western Australia, Green Precision clearly reveals strong crop growth and maturity in 2016 compared to the last three years.

ABC News attributes the change to early and constant rainfall in the state’s south, enabling most croppers to finish seeding in record time. This provided a welcome offset to last year poor yields when low rainfall and fatal bushfires adversely affected yield.

Likwise, Mingenew (above) has experienced the highest rainfall for the last 5 years to July with around 120mm more compared to last year.

Kukerin (below) has experienced it’s highest rainfall to July since 2006 and almost double the rainfall to the same time last year.

CSBP Fertilisers in partnership with NGIS Australia created GreenPrecision to deliver advanced vegetation analysis across the entire world in an accessible and user friendly tool.

By using cloud computing and a massive archive of satellite imagery, users of any skill level are able to compare vegetation for any location across multiple years, track factors affecting variability and view any changes in vegetation.


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