Crop Diversification

Farmers receiving an area-based payment have to comply with various practices that benefit the environment and the climate. One among these practices is diversifying crops within farms. For example, farmers with over 10 ha and up to 30 ha of arable land have to grow at least 2 crops and the main crop cannot cover more than 75% of the land.  Sentinels can help to decide whether the farmer is compliant or not by providing information about the planted crop type at the parcel level. 

Crop classification algorithms can be run on Sentinels-1 and -2 time series to determine the crop type with high confidence. National crop type maps are generated: the observed crop type is predicted over all parcels declared as arable land in the countries, and these predictions are made available along with confidence indicators. 

Crop type map at 10-m resolution, based on S1 and S2 time series from 2017 (left), along with the classification confidence indicator. Click here to access the full resolution map in a viewer

With its systematic acquisition ensured every 3 to 5 days, Sentinel-2 also delivers a detailed picture of the crop growing evolution over the season. This information is available at the pixel level inside a parcel to show the within-field variability and can also be averaged at the parcel level to characterize the growing profile of the planted crop.

Zoom of the crop type map at the parcel-level (left) and corresponding Vegetation Index time profiles, providing the crop vegetation cycle along the season. 

The full suite of information provided by Sentinels data makes possible to predict the crop type at the parcel-level, and then to estimate the number and the proportions of the cultivated crops at the farm level to decide about crop diversification compliance.

Example of assessment of a crop diversification compliance at the farm level.