Teagasc Spatial Analysis team among the finalists for 2018 Farming by Satellite Prize

The Teagasc Food Research Centre Ashtown – Spatial Analysis Unit team was shortlisted to participate from 3rd  to 6th of December 2018 in the final stage of the competition Farming by Satellite Prize, an EU initiative by the European GNSS Agency in cooperation with the European Environment Agency. 

Richa Marwaha, Azucena Jiménez Castañeda and Gabriela Afrasinei will present their new idea at the final stage of the competition at Marseille (France), and the Award Ceremony. The team submitted an innovative entry on “Feed On DemanD – wEdge & gRazing App” – FODDERApp, an innovative precision agriculture tool targeting grassland farmers, designed as an integrated satellite-based grass management data delivery WebGIS platform.

The aim of the competition is to promote the use of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Earth Observation (EO) in agriculture and its benefits to farmers, consumers, food security and geo-traceability, remote sensing technologies, sustainable land management, and the environment. Individuals or teams can contribute new ideas and innovations, particularly those relying upon European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), the forthcoming European Galileo system and Copernicus. Entries can be about any type of agriculture in any part of Europe.


Research Fellowships and Conference Sponsorship

Call for Applications for Funding in 2019

Research fellowships

Applications are invited from research scientists working in agriculture, forestry or fisheries and who would like to conduct research projects abroad, in another member country of the Co-operative Research Programme.

The aim of the Research Fellowships is to strengthen the international exchange of ideas and increase international mobility and co-operation among scientists working in these areas.

Conference Sponsorship

Applications are invited from research scientists working in agriculture, forestry or fisheries for funding towards a conference (or workshopsymposium, etc) to take place in a member country of the Co-operative Research Programme.

The aim of the Conference Sponsorship scheme is to inform policy makers, industry and academia of current and future research, scientific developments and opportunities in these areas.

New WebGIS: the USDA/FAS Global Agricultural & Disaster Assessment System (GADAS)

The US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (USDA/FAS) has developed a new WebGIS called the Global Agricultural & Disaster Assessment System (GADAS). While GADAS currently only supports the Google Chrome browser, it contains many useful geospatial layers, including agrometeorology, remote sensing, crop masks, etc.

Here’s a screenshot centered over the northern Atlantic Ocean:


Now focusing in on Ireland, which is subject to a drought now:


First VENµS scenes of Ireland

The first scenes from the VENµS mission from Ireland have been made available on CNES’s Theia website. I’ve processed the first available level 2A surface reflectance product using ESA SNAP software. This scene was acquired on 29 June 2018 over the northwestern Ireland counties of Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, and the Northern Irish (UK) county of Fermanagh.

Below are shown two images, the left being true colour (red = Band 7, green = Band 4, blue = Band 2), and the right being a false-colour NIR-Red-Green composite (red = Band 11, green = Band 7, blue = Band 4).


In the future, expect support to be added to the open-source Irish Earth Observation Python module and the associated IEOtools.


Soil fluxes (CO2 and N2O ) under mitigation scenarios using the LUCAS soil-DayCent model integration framework

Big potential changes in the use of remote sensing in the Common Agricultural Policy

The Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, is the single biggest spend by the EU, supporting 22 million farmers and costing 400+billion Euro over 6 years. Essentially farmers are supported by to farm, based on the size of their farm and the historical production of the farm (massive simplification of complex CAP system). Every year a farmer who wants to be part of CAP essentially submits a map of there farm with details of crops/production. Now obviously applications have to be checked and here to for as sub-sample were checked on the ground by  a  visit from an inspector. The process to select the sample was statistical (risk analysis) but also relied to some extent of remote sensing observations of farm activity.

Now in an effort to reduce on the ground visits the EU commission has changed its rules. A new regulation has just come into force that allows member states to use earth obs much more widely in assessing payments. These regulations are difficult to read but in short they allow for member states to use Copernicus data, other earth obs, drones, even images supplied by the applicant to validate the basic payment claim, only inspecting a subset of claimants who’s claims cannot be validated by EO systems- the criteria by which a member state is satisfied that a claim is valid form EO data is not spelled out.

This is pointing toward automatic continual observation of farms with Copernicus data in order to identify potential problems in a claim. In Ireland much of the EO work around the Basic Payment scheme is outsourced and so the increase in use of EO data is likely to lead to more opportunies for the EO sector in Ireland. Its also possible that farmers will be supplying there own imagery as validation for a claim.