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Yield Assessment

Operational crop yield estimates are multiplied by the cultivated area, providing the crop production estimate at national/regional level. This service uses medium resolution optical satellite data. Agricultural yields are traditionally estimated using Crop Growth Models or Agro-Meteorological Models (AMM) with different levels of complexity, using several data sources. Today, these crop growth models can be improved and also simplified by using EO data that can be input to various stages of the modeling process (parameters, input or driving variable).
Yield values for each crop are provided at sub-national level and then aggregated at country level, either post-harvest or a forecast during the growing season.

The model makes use of several input variables (e.g. phenological, meteorological), not all derived from EO sources. Availability of local data might differ among countries. Similarly to the Early Warning service, another constraint is associated, in some countries, with reliability of historical yield values provided by public authorities in charge of collecting such data. Such yield values are in fact used to calibrate the service.

Extract of MARS bulletin Vol 20 No 9 (European Union 2012). A pan-European crop monitoring and yield forecasting service based on satellite observations.

Relative yield forecast for millet in Senegal. Credits: University of Liége

Transparent and homogeneous data on agricultural production and estimates of agricultural output growth at country level are essential inputs to National Agricultural Statistics and Crop and Food Security Assessment Missions by the international donor community. Timely forecasted yield values are one of the key variables in early warning for food security. Moreover, they can assist agricultural subsidies control.

Yield forecast cost for 2–3 main crops over a 100.000 km² area ranges between 70 and 100 kEuro.






ESA 2013, Earth Observation for Green Growth: An overview of European and Canadian Industrial Capability




Ext. Source


Product Standards

Ref. Project

crop forecast

crop forecaster

  • Median Planting Date
  • Planting Progress
  • At-Planting Acreage
  • Median Crop Stage
  • Crop Condition
  • Apparent Yield
  • At-Harvest Acreage
  • At-Harvest Yield

crop health (disease and stress)

Monitor crop disease and stress

crop acreage and yield harvest (inventories / statistics)

Assess crop acreage and yield harvest

crop types (extent, growth, health, stress)

Monitor specific crop types

Application: crop yields

Forecast crop yields

crop indicator

crop area estimates
crop yield forecast


crop indicator

agriculture sustainable management
precision farming & farming planification
fertilizers industry
phytosanitary industry


Copernicus Brief






Key words


Studying crops, from outer space

The work is based on a breakthrough in the capacity to use satellite technology to measure light that is emitted by plant leaves as a byproduct of photosynthesis.

crops, photosynthesis




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