Articles | Volume 14, issue 9
09 Sep 2010
 | 09 Sep 2010

Combined use of FORMOSAT-2 images with a crop model for biomass and water monitoring of permanent grassland in Mediterranean region

D. Courault, R. Hadria, F. Ruget, A. Olioso, B. Duchemin, O. Hagolle, and G. Dedieu

Abstract. The aim of this study is to propose methods to improve crop and water management in Mediterranean regions. At landscape scale, there is a spatial variability of agricultural practices, particularly for grasslands irrigated by flooding. These grasslands are harvested three times per year and produce high quality hay, but their productions decreased significantly during the last few years because of the water scarcity. It is therefore important to assess the real water requirement for crops in order to predict productions in the case of agricultural practice modifications. Until now, the spatial variability of agricultural practices was obtained through surveys from farmers, but this method was tedious to describe an entire region. Thus, the specific aim of the study is to develop and assess a new method based on a crop model for estimating water balance and crop yield constrained by products derived from optical remote sensing data with high spatio-temporal resolution.

A methodology, based on the combined use of FORMOSAT-2 images and the STICS crop model, was developed to estimate production, evapotranspiration and drainage of irrigated grasslands in "the Crau" region in the South Eastern France. Numerous surveys and ground measurements were performed during an experiment conducted in 2006. Simple algorithms were developed to retrieve the dynamic of Leaf Area Index (LAI) for each plot and the main agricultural practices such as mowing and irrigation dates. These variables computed from remote sensing were then used to parameterize STICS, applied at region scale to estimate the spatial variability of water budget associated with the biomass productions. Results are displayed at the farm scale. Satisfactory results were obtained when compared to ground measurements. The method for the extrapolation to other regions or crops is discussed as regard to data available.