Expanding VRT Opportunities with RapidEye Satellite Imagery

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If you were to look up right now with a telescope into space, you would see trillions of stars and satellites orbiting our earth. Something you wouldn’t recognize is that there are five satellites spinning around you capturing imagery specifically for YOU to use in your fields this year!

On August 29, 2008, a German based satellite company, RapidEye, launched five identical earth orbiting satellites designed for agriculture applications. By detecting things such as canopy density variation and chlorophyll variation, the applications of variable rate technology in fertilizer, seed, and pesticides are resulting in farmers fields of the Agri-Trend Network.

06 0709 Expanding VRT 2If you are thinking about getting into precision farming and using remote sensing on your fields, RapidEye satellite imagery will provide you with high quality imagery multiple timesin the year to give you the confidence you need. Until today, higher resolution imagery in near real-time was not an affordable solution for agriculture. This reality forced the use of lower resolution satellite images from previous years. Lower 30 meter resolution satellite imagery is difficult to distinguish proper management zones or small areas of patchy weeds, and unless you have a time machine, it’s impossible to ground-truth the image from last years crop!


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Quick Facts: Think in 5’s

  • The RapidEye satellite constellation consists of 5 satellites in synchronous orbit.

  • The satellites are able to provide 5 meter resolution.

  • The satellites will return to the same field at about the same time, every 5 days.

  • Over the course of the growing season you will receive approximately 5 cloud free images.

  • The sensors are capable of capturing 5 different wavelengths of light; red, green, blue, near-infrared, and red-edge.

Get the Edge Over Time

The RapidEye satellite system is the only commercial satellite system that is able to acquire data in the “red-edge” spectral band. This band provides an indication of the chlorophyll content in the crops and how it may be varied. Chlorophyll content is strongly related to things such as nitrogen (N) content, and nutrient status. If you are thinking of entering into a program of in-season N management when and where the crop needs it, then RapidEye imagery will be the exact tool you need to make these decisions. Utilizing single images or images from previous years to make these decisions leaves lots of holes and assumptions to be filled.

Other products such as a ground cover NDVI image, and bare soil images are available to farmers to capture more information about soil texture and canopy density variation.

The unique ability of RapidEye to deliver multiple crop images over the course of the growing season will have tremendous value when making corrective decisions. If you are wondering if parts of your field may start to run out of nutrients, or when and where your crops may start to show signs of disease stress, then RapidEye will be the tool to detect this.

RapidEye satellite imagery is available for you to order today before the season runs out. Agri-Trend’s network, through the Precision Management Process™, have already been providing solutions this year based on RapidEye imagery. To learn more about Agri-Trend’s Precision Management Process™ or RapidEye imagery, contact:

Your Local Agri-Coach or Agri-Trend Agrology Ltd:

About the Author
Warren Bills

Warren grew up on a grain farm near Marwayne, Alberta and as the first Geo-Coach® in the Agri-Trend Network Warren has pursued his ambition to help farmers be better at precision farming.  Being passionate and interested in the technologies and working with a powerful Network of Agri-Coaches, the variable rate management programs at Agri-Trend that have resulted are proving to be profitable and scientifically sound.  Today Warren leads the Network of Geo-Coaches for Agri-Trend as VP Geo Solutions.  A graduate from the U of A in Crop science, he is also a P.Ag with the Alberta Institute of Agrologists.  Warren, his wife, Rebecca, and their twin girls currently live in Langdon, AB. 

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