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Why do we use satellite images in agriculture?

Thanks to the use of satellite images we can obtain valuable information to monitor farms & fields, and make decisions to optimize agricultural production.


Some examples of the most common applications are:

  • Monitor the state of the crop continuously and regularly throughout the cycle.
  • Know the evolution of the field in past seasons using the image archive.
  • Create management zones, based on the variability of the crop. 
  • To detect anomalies, weeds and/or damage made by pests or diseases. 
  • Support emergency plant assessment and replanting decisions.
  • Detect irrigation problems or areas affected by surface water. 
  • Support refertilization decisions.
  • Estimate yields.

This is done using indexes maps generated from image processing, which indicate different aspects of the evolution of the crop.


One of the most widely used indexes is the Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is an indicator of biomass or crop vigor.

The sequence of images below illustrates the evolution of NDVI in a soybean field, from pre-planting to pre-harvest.

Pre-seeding: fallow land with the presence of weeds

Sowing: The lot was applied 4 days before sowing (that’s why the weed patches disappeared)

Vegetative State (25 DAS)

Reproductive State (70 DAS)

Critical Period (95 DAS)

Maturity (130 DAS)

Preharvest: this is what the lot looks like 4 days before the harvest

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