Satellite imagery can be of great benefit to primary producers and those management groups responsible for the assessment or reporting of land management practices. Satellite imagery and other spatial datasets can be used in farm planning, assessment of crop yield or pasture condition and in the mapping of irrigated and non-irrigated vegetation, whether managed or natural.

Imagery and other complementary geospatial datasets are used as a reference source for farm management systems, sometimes simply as a base map for property management plans. Traditionally, coarser resolution imagery products have been used to generate locality maps of broad-scale properties. With the advent of a range of high and very-high resolution imagery providers, the detail that can be derived from satellite imagery is now at the paddock or parcel level.

You can clearly detect areas of vegetation for government compliance requirements, measure paddock areas, and plan new layouts. Basic farm mapping tasks can be simplified using a satellite image as a backdrop, but imagery also offers a lot more than just a picture.

Using satellite imagery, many issues relating to crop production can be detected including:

  • Nutritional disorders (particularly nitrogen deficiencies)
  • Missed fertiliser striping
  • Random wheel tracks and soil compaction from previous operations
  • Water logging and poor drainage
  • Sowing problems
  • Pest damage
  • Crop diseases (Rhizoctonia, Nematodes)
  • Consistent areas that are growing well

QuickBird Image over farmland in Victoria ©DigitalGlobe

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