BASF Digital Farming and VanderSat are the first globally to offer access to scalable, daily biomass images unimpeded by cloud cover

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BASF Digital Farming GmbH in cooperation with VanderSat will be the first globally to commercially offer the agricultural industry access to scalable, daily biomass images unimpeded by cloud cover.

The two companies have signed a commercial agreement, which will see the integration of VanderSat’s innovative, fully operational ‘Cloud-free Biomass’ product with BASF Digital Farming’s market leading xarvio™ FIELD MANAGER solution.

Farmers will get daily access to high quality, consistent, cloud free biomass images. Faster access to biomass images, enables consistent monitoring of crop growth and leads to enhanced agronomic decisions. This optimizes crop production, saves time and money, and fosters sustainability in agriculture.

Cloud-free Biomass is the result of close collaboration and testing by xarvio and VanderSat teams across the last two years. The new product was successfully tested in Germany, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Canada and Brazil during the 2019/20 growing season. It has a high spatial resolution (10 meters x 10 meters) and provides a single, consistent metric of crop biomass. This allows farmers to compare the performance of several fields over a large area, or in different growing seasons.

Integrating three different satellite products together, Cloud-free Biomass uses VanderSat’s patented retrieval method for passive microwave technology, along with active microwave from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sentinel-1 satellite and optical images from its Sentinel-2 satellite. VanderSat then uses its expertise in remote sensing to interpret the output from these data sources to provide a reliable, daily measure of crop biomass.

In some parts of Europe, North and Latin America biomass images are significantly obstructed by cloud cover. At times it can take more than two weeks to receive a ‘clean’ biomass image, which by then is usually outdated because crop conditions have changed.

Cloud-free Biomass images are available daily and offer significant benefits. Unlike Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) biomass images from satellites, which are not available on cloudy days and only measure spectral greenness, Cloud-free Biomass also measures biophysical parameters and water content in vegetation to continually and accurately calculate all stages of crop growth during the entire growing season.

Jeff Spencer, xarvio Global Technology & Data lead, comments: “Giving farmers quicker access to reliable, quality biomass images provides greater oversight and helps to reduce risk, by ensuring any required action can be taken almost immediately. We are confident Cloud-free Biomass will be well-received by xarvio FIELD MANAGER customers and the agricultural industry.”

“As a launching collaborator xarvio has given VanderSat the opportunity to develop a state-of-the-art product that perfectly matches farmers’ needs. The launch of the Cloud-free Biomass product is a major step forward for VanderSat on the way to a fully-fledged proposition for the agricultural market. It is now possible to monitor crop conditions continuously through a globally available operational service”, says Arjen Bakker, Director of Agri, Food and Commodities at VanderSat.

Cloud-free Biomass is expected to be integrated into xarvio FIELD MANAGER by the end of March 2021 and will be available in North America and Latin America. Other regions will follow during the year. The commercial agreement between BASF Digital Farming Solutions GmbH and VanderSat covers Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Germany and the Ukraine.

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