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Analyzing Temporal and Spatial Characteristics of Crop Parameters Using Sentinel-1 Backscatter Data
Open AccessArticle

Crop Monitoring Using Sentinel-1 Data: A Case Study from The Netherlands

Department of Water Resources, Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN Delft, The Netherlands
Department of Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN Delft, The Netherlands
Aeres Hogeschool, De Drieslag 4, 8251 JZ Dronten, The Netherlands
NEO b.v, Stadsring 65d, 3811 HN Amersfoort, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1887;
Received: 6 July 2019 / Revised: 4 August 2019 / Accepted: 6 August 2019 / Published: 13 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radar Remote Sensing for Agriculture)
PDF [9901 KB, uploaded 13 August 2019]


Agriculture is of huge economic significance in The Netherlands where the provision of real-time, reliable information on crop development is essential to support the transition towards precision agriculture. Optical imagery can provide invaluable insights into crop growth and development but is severely hampered by cloud cover. This case study in the Flevopolder illustrates the potential value of Sentinel-1 for monitoring five key crops in The Netherlands, namely sugar beet, potato, maize, wheat and English rye grass. Time series of radar backscatter from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-1 Mission are analyzed and compared to ground measurements including phenological stage and height. Temporal variations in backscatter data reflect changes in water content and structure associated with phenological development. Emergence and closure dates are estimated from the backscatter time series and validated against a photo archive. Coherence data are compared to Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and ground data, illustrating that the sudden increase in coherence is a useful indicator of harvest. The results presented here demonstrate that Sentinel-1 data have significant potential value to monitor growth and development of key Dutch crops. Furthermore, the guaranteed availability of Sentinel-1 imagery in clouded conditions ensures the reliability of data to meet the monitoring needs of farmers, food producers and regulatory bodies. View Full-Text
Keywords: radar; agriculture; SAR; Sentinel-1; crop monitoring; phenology radar; agriculture; SAR; Sentinel-1; crop monitoring; phenology

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Khabbazan, S.; Vermunt, P.; Steele-Dunne, S.; Ratering Arntz, L.; Marinetti, C.; van der Valk, D.; Iannini, L.; Molijn, R.; Westerdijk, K.; van der Sande, C. Crop Monitoring Using Sentinel-1 Data: A Case Study from The Netherlands. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1887.

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