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Space agency to deliver Big Data at the farm gate for potato growers

The drought that swept through Europe this year has hit European potato farmers hard when sustained high temperatures and the lack of rain badly affected the agrofood industry. Scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) say their data and industry-directed services can help mitigate several challenges faced by the industry.

According to ESA, it is not all doom and gloom for the potato industry.

A new service will help reduce the effect of these problems using satellite data. Earth observation data, including data generated by Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites as well as high resolution data delivered by other missions, can be used to help mitigate a number of challenges faced by the industry.

These include storage and disease monitoring, and also helping to increase logistics and trading efficiencies.

The agrofood industry and farmers growing potatoes and other crops should soon be able to save money, get better prices and help protect their crops from disease when
using satellite data that will be sent directly to them through ESA’s novel “EOPLUG-IN” service.

EOPLUG-IN was recently launched through ESA’s new Earth observation
innovation hub (the ɸ-lab). ESA says it will enable fast, easy access to continuous intelligence data streams for the industry, delivered via machine-based technologies.

Janny Peltjes, the managing director of HLB BV, a member of the Dutch agrofood cluster, expects that “the novel satellite-based system will be able to spatially detect crop diseases, thereby providing means to efficiently target affected areas, saving pesticide application and safeguarding production”.

As the system is scalable, the services can be expanded to different topics and sectors. The service is developed by GeoVille Information Systems and Data Processing GmbH, the Austrian Earth Observation Data Centre, and partners from the agriculture and food industries including Hermess and HLB in the Netherlands.

This article was published in the launch issue of the new Global Potato News magazine. The full article can be read on page 25 of the magazine – go here to access the pdf file.

Further information on the EOPLUG-IN service can be found on the ESA website at www.esa.int.