Barley and Remote Sensing

This is the fourth in our series on barley – a critical crop that is facing challenges and provides opportunities, due to climate change.   To ensure a stable supply of barley, it is important to understand and predict barley yields, estimate the area of barley across a country, and detect disease and drought. With the advancements in satellite and remote sensing technology, farmers and researchers can now access detailed information about the crop, allowing them to make informed decisions and take proactive measures to optimize barley production.



How can satellites and remote sensing technology help understand and predict barley yields?

Satellites and remote sensing technology can provide a range of information about barley crops, including their growth patterns, nutrient levels, and overall health -at field, national and global levels.  By analyzing this information, farmers and researchers can gain insights into what factors that influence barley yields, such as temperature, soil moisture, and pest infestations. This information can be used to create predictive yield models, allowing farmers, producers and traders to plan for the upcoming growing season  and make informed decisions

What is the role of satellites and remote sensing technology in estimating the area of barley across a country?

Estimating the area of barley across a country is important as it allows producers, farmers and traders  – as well as governments – to predict pricing, manage logistics and food supplies. When combined with ground truth, satellites can be used to calculate the area of barley being planted.  This methodology works on probability models and requires a large amount of computing power and detailed analysis.

The area information,, combined with data on soil and weather, o create maps that provide a comprehensive view of barley production across a country. This information can help governments to make informed decisions about food imports and exports, as well as to plan for any potential food shortages.

How can satellites and remote sensing technology be used to detect disease and drought in barley crops?


ESA - Sentinel-1 Satellite

Sentinel-1 The first of ESA’s Copernicus missions. Satellite

Disease and drought are two of the biggest threats to barley yields, and early detection is key to preventing crop losses; this is becoming a greater risk due to climate change.  Satellites and remote sensing technology can provide detailed images of barley crops, which can detect signs of disease through the use of indexes such as NDVI.  Drought can de detected in multiple ways – including analysis of weather (which comes from satellites), analysis of ground moisture (through satellites via microwaves) and  detecting changes in crop health – from multi spectral analysis.

European Space Agency Satellites Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 provide global coverage of crops around the world.