OBSERVER: Copernicus at Salon International de l’Agriculture 2022 in Paris

OBSERVER: Copernicus at Salon International de l’Agriculture 2022 in Paris

OBSERVER: Copernicus at Salon International de l’Agriculture 2022 in Paris

Thu, 03/03/2022 – 18:15

As in-person events are slowly coming back, the 2022 International Agricultural Show (SIA) reunion edition, which is said to be the biggest indoor farming show in Europe, is taking place in Paris at the Parc des Expositions from the 26th of February to the 6th of March 2022. Copernicus is represented at the event to showcase its agricultural applications.

Salon International De L’Agriculture 2022

This special edition, gathering more than 1,000 exhibitors and 60 startups from the agri-tech sector, emphasises the strong relationship between farmers and consumers who are more conscious and interested in the production process of the end products than ever before.  President of the SIA, Jean-Luc Poulain explains that “Farmers and consumers are more interconnected than ever. This is the context surrounding this reunion edition, with all the players in the agricultural sector who share unique values and know-how, so that their daily lives build our future”.

It is in this context that Copernicus plays an important role in agriculture through its Land Monitoring Service. Implemented by the European Environment Agency and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service (CLMS) aims at providing geographic and land cover information to its multiple users. The future of agriculture is increasingly connected to the high-tech world; start-ups, farmers, big corporations or organisations, and even common citizens mark the evolution of the agricultural landscape, where the free CLMS access is a portal to quality, work, and yield optimisation, as well as being a valuable source of information for better understanding space technology usage for tangible benefits on Earth.

At the SIA, Copernicus is represented in the European Commission booth together with other components of the EU Space Programme. The booth showcases four primary activity areas: innovation and precision agriculture; organic labels and the fight against food waste; Common Agricultural Policy and the European Green Deal; and soil and biodiversity monitoring.  This first-ever presence provides an opportunity to introduce and explore the beneficial impact of Copernicus and its support for managing the use of land and bridging the importance of ecosystems and quality of life with green infrastructure. The display includes videos, factsheets, a satellite model, and interactive activities that highlight the innovative space-enabled capabilities that apply to agriculture. Some highlights of the European Booth are illustrated below:

How Copernicus supports agriculture

Copernicus is a game-changer for agriculture globally. Its open data and services support the agriculture sector, e.g., farm management, irrigation, seasonal mapping of yields and cultures, or subsidy controls (both for farmers and for policy development) through the existing land use/land change products portfolio. It also provides unique information aimed at developing new sustainable agricultural practices which are more resilient and less vulnerable to climate change.

The Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites, with their high spatial (10-20 m), spectral (13 bands), and temporal (5-day revisit frequency) resolution, are designed to meet the needs of the agricultural community, including farmers, policymakers and academic researchers. This includes a strong focus on international agricultural development.

Copernicus Sentinel-2 false colour image from September 2021 showing agricultural land fragmentation in southern Romania  

Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites provide unique capabilities to monitor the photosynthetic activity of crops, and thus their vegetative state, with the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) being one of the most widely used indices by experts.  It is an index calculated using two of the spectral bands of Sentinel-2 (B4 and B8) allowing to compute total green biomass, which is an indicator of crop health. In addition, Copernicus Sentinel data can be used as a proxy for estimating crop nitrogen concentrations or status.

Schematic representation of the use of Copernicus Sentinel-2 data in agriculture. (Segarra et al., 2020)

Copernicus Sentinel-2 data can also be used to monitor drought-induced changes in agricultural production and soil degradation caused by intensive cultivation or improper irrigation. Finally, they allow the production of agricultural maps to estimate the extent of cultivated areas in a specific country or during a growing season, allowing to support food security monitoring in vulnerable areas.

Many of the CLMS portfolio products are based on data from the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites. One of these is the CLMS High-Resolution Vegetation Phenology and Productivity (HR-VPP) product. It allows enhanced monitoring of vegetation dynamics and assessment of climatic and anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems and is very relevant for agricultural applications.

Precision farming is another privileged area of application for the data provided by Copernicus in synergy with other components of the EU Space Programme. Multi-temporal Copernicus Sentinel-2 data allow to estimate crop evapotranspiration and detect biotic stresses that can guide the precise application of pesticides at both regional and field levels. Moreover, when Copernicus Sentinel data are combined with Galileo or EGNOS-equipped tractors, drones, or robots, they enable the implementation of sustainable management strategies and the development of appropriate guidelines for irrigation and fertilisation.

Multitemporal NDVI images of agricultural fields in Puglia, Italy

The SIA provides a unique chance to showcase Copernicus and the importance of protecting the stability of the agricultural and consumer markets promoted by the European Commission. Since the opening day of the fair, among the interested visitors, the Copernicus booth received a visit from Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, who was accompanied by the French Minister of Agriculture, Julien Dernormandie. It also caught the attention of Member of the European Parliament, Christophe Grudler, present at the SIA with a Renew Europe delegation. Many other important players in the agri-tech sector are present at this reunion edition and participation is expected to exceed 600,000 over the fair’s duration, based on the figures from previous editions. Interested parties will certainly be captivated by the possibilities for the use and benefits of Copernicus’ applications for agriculture and how the CLMS can support the agriculture sector.

Further Reading

Thu, 03/03/2022 – 12:00

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