Utilizing Sentinel-2 Satellite Imagery for Precision Agriculture over Potato Fields in Lebanon

Lebanon has traditionally been a major potato producer with 451,860 tons produced in 2014. Generally, potatoes make up 30% of the total Lebanese agricultural exports where approximately 60% of the potato production is exported to the Arab region, the UK and Brazil. The purpose of this study is to promote precision agriculture techniques in Lebanon that will help local farmers in the central Bekaa Valley with land management decisions. The European Space Agency’s satellite missions Sentinel-2A, launched June 23rd 2015, and the Sentinel-2B, recently launched on March 7th 2017, are multispectral high resolution imaging systems that provide global coverage every 5 days. The Sentinel program is a land monitoring program that includes an aim to improve agricultural practices. The imagery is 13 band data in the visible, near infrared and short wave infrared parts of the electromagnetic spectrum and ranges from 10-20 m including three 60 m bands pixel resolution. Sentinel is freely available data that has the potential to empower farmers with information to respond quickly to maximize crop health. Due to the political and security conflicts in the region, utilizing satellite imagery for Lebanon is more reasonable and realistic than operating Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for high resolution remote sensing. During the 2017 growing season, local farmers provided detailed information in designated fields on their farming practices, crop health, and pest threats. In parallel, Sentinel-2 imagery was processed to study crop health using the following vegetation indices: Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, Green Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index and Modified Soil Adjusted Vegetation Index 2. Most Lebanese farmers inherit their land from their parents over generations, and as a result most still use traditional farming techniques for irrigation, where decisions are based on prior generations’ practices. However, with the changes in climate conditions within the region, these practices are no longer as efficient as they used to be. Normalized Difference Water Indices are calculated from satellite bands in the near-infrared and short-wave infrared to provide a better understanding about the water stress status of crops within the field. Preliminary results demonstrate that Sentinel-2 data can provide detailed and timely data for farmers to effectively manage fields. Despite the fact that most Lebanese farmers rely on traditional farming methods, providing them with crop health information on their mobile phones and allowing them to test its efficiency has the potential to be a catalyst to help them improve their farming practices.

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Last Updated September 16, 2021, 16:54 (UTC)
Created September 16, 2021, 16:54 (UTC)