COMPASS | Project Showcases | Rezatec

COMPASS - Agricultural Innovation in Mexico and Argentina

Rezatec and the University of Nottingham, supported by Booker Tate, are working with CIMMYT and COLPOS to help smallholder farmers growing wheat, maize and sugarcane to improve crop management. The project is funded by IPP-UKSA and Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). The project was expanded in 2019 to include maize in Mexico, and wheat and maize in Argentina. The consortium was expanded to include INTA in Argentina.

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Project Details:

Project Start: 2016
Duration: 4 years and 6 months
Target Country: Mexico and Argentina
International Partners: 5

Summary

Improving crop management

COMPASS is an IPP-UKSA and Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) funded project started in 2016. Rezatec and the University of Nottingham in the UK, supported by Booker Tate, are working with CIMMYT and COLPOS to improve crop management in Mexico, helping small hold farmers growing wheat, maize and sugarcane, as well wheat and maize in Argentina. Farmers need to improve crop productivity and stabilise their incomes to facilitate rural community economic development. The technology developed by this 4 and a half year project uses earth observation satellite data (including data from Sentinel satellites) along with in-situ data captured from the farmers, to help identify factors that cause the yield gap between crop potential and actual field performance.

The project will provide customer specific decision support tools to help growers, including smallholders, improve their technical, environmental and financial performance. The next steps of the project will be to provide commercial information support, following trials, to advisory services, agribusiness, farmer co-operatives, crop insurers and governments to create a long-term income stream to support Rezatec’s provision of these services.

Objectives

Improving income & investment

  • Help wheat, maize and sugar cane farmers in Mexico and Argentina improve crop management, so that their income and income stability is improved to support rural development.
  • Help the wider wheat, maize and sugar cane industry, crop insurers and government agencies access improved information, so that they can help develop the industry and facilitate investment.
  • Develop and deploy a commercial decision support tool for wheat, maize and sugar cane farmers, as well as the wider industry in Mexico and Argentina, using geospatial data to help deliver more detailed, timely and cost effective information to support management decision making.
Needs

Driving sustainable crop output

The overall challenge for all crops is to transform both traditional extensive, as well as modern intensive systems, into sustainable systems producing more crop output with better use of resources. This requires better management of the interacting parameters controlling yield. There are about 30 site-specific parameters grouped by soil, management, inputs and environment, that can determine the production efficiency of these crops e.g. soil type, harvest date, disease control and temperature. The theoretical effect of these parameters on production is understood. However, there are no practical, evidence based, management decision tools that support smallholders and larger growers by targeting production efficiency per specific field.

Providing a management decision support tool, informed by satellite and other data sources, that is both practical and affordable for smallholders with low levels of formal education, will help them make better decisions and thus benefit their incomes and farm development. COMPASS aims to provide this solution.

Benefits

Rural economic development

  • Improved productivity, particularly for smallholder farmers, in three of Mexico’s major crops, wheat, maize and sugarcane, and in two of Argentina’s major crops, wheat and maize. ​
  • Improved resource use efficiency and hence lower emissions (of e.g., fertilizer nitrogen and GHGs) to the environment; through balanced application of inputs.
  • Improved market function as farmers, traders, government, and other stakeholders will have improved visibility of likely crop yields, allowing much better planning of crop marketing, which helps to stabilise incomes.
  • Through improving technical and market performance, the project will assist rural economic development in both Mexico and Argentina with improved food security (wheat and maize) and generate increased export earnings in Mexico (sugar cane).
  • The project focuses on managing crop performance enabled by a range of satellite data which is currently not used in Mexico or Argentina, stimulating the uptake of this innovative technology. At present satellite data is only used for nitrogen management via the GreenSat system.
  • This international collaboration is represents a new opportunity for the UK because:
    • It takes UK developed technology, using geospatial data, and applies it to new countries, e.g. Mexico and Argentina, in a new context, tracking crop growth performance for smallholders growing wheat, maize and sugar cane in developing countries.
    • Opens up new markets in Latin America for UK companies, in an area with strong growth potential for the UK’s commercial and academic partners.

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