New indicators to remotely track climate-smart agricultural practices: Farm services for farmers and policy makers

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

The SATFARM-Services project aims to understand how farm-level environmental services can be tracked using remote sensing information. SATFARM-Services proposes to produce new remote sensing indicators of agricultural practices, particularly climate-smart practices, that can be visualized in an open web platform and help farmers, extension agents and policy makers towards increased adoption of resilient agricultural practices in the face of climate change weather extremes.

Contents and goals

For this purpose, we will couple two large, detailed datasets that have never been combined before, in order to understand and model potential relationships between what remote sensing measurements provide and what is observed in the field.

The first set of data is a comprehensive in-situ collection of farming activities from the cropping regions of Lower Austria provided by the Austrian Agricultural Chamber. To date, this dataset has solely by the Agricultural Chamber and it has never been used in combination with remote sensing information. It contains field level data on productivity (yield) and management practices (sowing time, crop type, pre-crop, cover crop, tillage system), spanning almost 20 years. The data set covers a critical region at the transition between a sub-humid oceanic and a semi-arid continental climate. This project will for the first time provide access to this valuable dataset, with the possibility for upscaling across Austria and beyond with similar national datasets.

The second data set contains remote, multi-sensor available information for the same time period, including optical imagery and radar data from Landsat, Sentinel 1-2, SPOT 4/5 and RADARSAT, as well as potentially RADARSAT 2, TerraSAR-X and TanDEM-X (subject to availability). A large array of remote sensing derived indices such as NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), EVI (Enhanced Vegetation Index), LAI (Leaf Area Index) and fAPAR (Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation) will be included and combined with the in-situ data.


The produced indicators will be visualised on the open Sentinel-Hub web-platform where involved farmers, extension agents and corresponding policy makers can make use of them to improve farm resilience and monitor agriculture at regional and national scales. SATFARM-Services will thus providethe basis for satellite-based monitoring of agricultural practices, enabling stakeholders to make evidence-based decisions in line with the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Expected results

The current proposed project will move the business case from Technology Readiness level 2 to 4/5 with the vision to then move this forward to further develop the SATFARM-Services by enhancing the online platform to provide premium services or large area coverage, using the new indicators.

Public sector institutions involved in policy making or advising farmers as well as private farmers themselves could decide to pay for additional services that would help tracking and monitoring compliance with EU CAP norms and for an advisory service to improve yield stability and environmental farm services.


Project Partners


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Project partner

  • University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences Vienna
  • Sentinel Hub GmbH

Contact Address

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Schlossplatz 1
A-2361 Laxenburg
Tel.: +43 (2236) 807 0