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Monitoring the Walloon agriculture state with remote sensing (SAGRIWATEL)

Onderzoeksproject S0/00/020 (Onderzoeksactie S0)


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Context and objectives

This research and development project is carried out in a close cooperation between scientists working in different Walloon research institutions and the Walloon Agricultural Administration (DGA, Ministry of Walloon Region). Since agriculture is rapidly changing due among others to its still more important activities related to environment protection, the Walloon Agricultural Administration has to set up new tools adapted to these changes. Moreover, the Agriculture being regionalised in 2003, it had to develop monitoring tools more adapted to the Walloon context.
The project is aimed at developing cartographic applications for DGA to assist their monitoring of the agricultural production and the environment activities (agri-environmental measures). According to the cases, these tools were designed for control and technical support or for a general monitoring of agricultural evolutions in the Walloon Region


Methodology

The proposed approach reuses the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) database which has been in operational use in Belgium since 1997. The IACS was initially intended to be a cartographic control system for farmer application forms. The aim of this project is an extension of the IACS system to serve for the other new needs of DGA especially those regarding control and support of production and agri-environmental farmers’ activities. The IACS information is integrated with satellite and airborne data as well as crop growth models and serves to feed a set of original applications. This approach optimizes the information provided by farmers at the moment of their CAP declaration. This avoids loss of time with repetitive information requests meaning to some extent an administrative simplification. The new system provides the decision maker with a better agricultural state monitoring than what is actually available.


Results

The new system provides the decision makers in DGA with a new powerful agriculture state monitoring tool compiling a set of agricultural and agri-environmental applications and enabling them to answer requests, particularly from the European Commission, very quickly. The most interesting applications developed are given in the “Products and service” windows, here after. Some applications will become operational within the shortest delay and are conceived in order to be easily adaptable to new requirements. This constitutes a considerable advantage in view of the frequent CAP evolutions.


Products and services

An number of applications are proposed at different development levels, such as :

- Agricultural yield and production forecasting
- Water stress zones delineation
- Localization and dimension estimation of grass covered buffer strips
- Assessing bare soil ratio during winter in crop soils
- Soil erosion risk indication
- Farming crop diversity
- Crop sequence quality assessment
- Evolution of agricultural parcel size

Some of these applications will be set up by the Walloon Agricultural Administration in 2006


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