EO based agricultural monitoring for Common Agricultural Policy

Sentinels for Common Agriculture Policy (Sen4CAP)

Contact our expert, Jan Kolomazník

Common Agricultural Policy

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union aims at improving the European agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner while ensuring a decent standard of living of farmers within the EU.

With an annual budget of roughly €59 billion, the CAP strengthens the competitiveness and sustainability of agriculture in Europe by a range of measures including direct payments, market measures and rural development. The largest part of the CAP budget is managed and controlled through its Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) aiming to safeguard the CAP financials and supporting the farmers to submit their declarations. The IACS is implemented at national level through Paying Agencies of each EU member state. Within the on-going process of CAP reform the Earth Observation (EO) takes an increasing role for improving the IACS and making it more cost efficient.

The Sen4CAP project

The Sen4CAP project provided to the European and national stakeholders of the CAP validated algorithms, products, workflows and best practices for agriculture monitoring relevant for the management of the CAP.

The following products have been developed within the project: Cultivated crop type map, Grassland mowing product, Vegetation status indicator, Agricultural practices monitoring product, together with the Interactive visualization services for satellite imagery and use-case products. These products were built on an integrated use of both Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 data. Their performance has been validated against in-situ data through the prototyping and demonstration project activities.

The project paid particular attention to provide evidence how Sentinel derived information can support the modernization and simplification of the CAP in the post 2020 timeframe. In parallel, the open-source processing system was developed and validated. The demonstration phase of the project also included the training and capacity building activities for the transfer of the developed EO products and services to the Paying Agencies.

Our part

Gisat has been responsible for development, testing and validation of methods for agricultural practices monitoring. It included crop harvest and tillage detection, monitoring of fallow lands, catch-crops and nitrogen-fixing crops. The resulting products have been demonstrated and validated in collaboration with Paying Agencies of 7 pilot countries.