Mexican Crop Observation, Management & Production Analysis Services System
An innovative project using satellite data to help Mexican smallholder farmers grow sugar cane and wheat with optimized crop productivity by identifying factors that cause the yield gap between crop potential and actual field performance.
Project Start: December 2016
Duration: 4 Years
Target Country: Mexico
International Partners: 2
UK Partners: 3
About the Project
Mexican COMPASS is an IPP-UKSA funded project started during Dec’16. Rezatec and the University of Nottingham in the UK, supported by Booker Tate, are working with CIMMYT and COLPOS in Mexico to help smallholder farmers growing sugar cane and wheat to improve crop management. Mexican farmers need to improve crop productivity and stabilise their incomes to facilitate rural community economic development. The technology developed by this 4 year project will use earth observation satellite data (including data from Sentinel) along with in-situ data captured with the farmers to help them identify factors that cause the yield gap between crop potential and actual field performance.
The project will provide 7 customer specific decision support tools to help growers, including smallholders, improve their technical, environmental and financial performance. The project will also 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.
- Help wheat and sugar cane farmers in Mexico improve their crop management so that their incomes and income stability is improved to support rural development
- Help the wider wheat 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 and sugar cane farmers and the wider industry in Mexico using space data to help deliver more detailed, more timely and more cost effective information to support management decision making
The overall challenge for both 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 wheat and sugar cane 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 crop decisions and thus benefit their incomes and farm development.COMPASS aims to provide this solution.
Impact and benefits of compass:
Improved productivity, particularly for smallholder farmers, in two of Mexico’s major crops, wheat and sugar cane.
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 information on 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 Mexico, improve food security (wheat) and generate increased export earnings (sugar cane).
The project will also introduce a focus on managing crop performance enabled by a range of satellite data which is currently not used in Mexico, this stimulating the uptake of this innovative technology. At present satellite data is only used for nitrogen management via the GreenSat system.
This international collaboration represents a new opportunity for the UK because:
It takes UK developed technology using space data and applies it to a new country, Mexico, and new context, tracking crop growth performance for smallholders growing wheat and sugar cane in a developing country. Trials in the UK and Ukraine with sugar beet grower groups and sugar factories have shown the potential to increase yields using this technology by 5%.
Opens up new markets in Latin America for UK companies in an area with strong growth potential for the UK commercial and academic partners.
Rezatec (Lead Partner) – Specialist Geospatial Data Analytics Company, UK
Established in 2012, Rezatec is an award winning and now well established satellite data systems company specialising in earth observation to assist land managers, governments and insurance companies. For example, it combines satellite ground observation data with weather information by applying agro-meteorological and biophysical modelling to accurately forecast and optimise crop yields. Rezatec is developing a crop production management tool to address the biggest challenge in agriculture: producing more food sustainably with less resource. It provides analytical data products and decision support through a web-based “Life Platform” designed to improve the technical, economic and environmental efficiency of production systems per crop, per field and per grower. Rezatec will be focusing on:
Analysing earth observation data and combining this with other data sources through its ‘Life Platform’ to support management decision making
Tailoring the user interface to different end users e.g. growers; processors; retailers; traders; advice, input and equipment providers; and government, so that the information provide to each meets their specific needs.
Booker Tate – International Sugar & Agribusiness Consultants,UK
Booker Tate has unrivalled international experience in the provision of Development, Management and Technical Services to sugar, ethanol, bio-energy and other agribusiness projects, having successfully completed 1,500 assignments in more than 100 countries over 50 years. In addition, TSB, Booker Tate’s parent company, produces over 600,000 tonnes of sugar per year at its three sugar mills in South Africa. Booker Tate is dedicated to being a global leader in the provision of services to the sugar sector and agribusiness. On this mission, Booker-Tate will bring its international knowledge and expertise in:
Capacity building, training & development
Benchmarking and performance improvement
Management and technical services: technical management, operational management, corporate management, client’s representative
Irrigation services: water resource and irrigation development
Reconnaissance visits: pre-feasibility & feasibility development plans, strategic planning
Due diligence studies for investors.
CIMMYT – International Wheat and Maize Improvement Center, Mexico
The International Wheat and Maize Improvement Center (CIMMYT) prioritizes research relevant to ensure global food security and decrease poverty through the use of new technologies and management knowledge to sustainably increase the food productivity. Particular areas of knowledge and expertise relevant to this project are:
The Sustainable Intensification Program (SIP) at CIMMYT has as its primary purpose to co-develop sustainable intensification options for and with farmers in wheat and maize farming systems in developing countries
CIMMYT’s team has strengths on precision agriculture (PA), remote sensing (RS) technologies, crop nutrition and biometrics.
MASCAÑA – Sugarcane Research Group, COLPOS, Mexico
The Colegio de Postgraduados is a Mexican public institution of higher education with international recognition that prepares students for a globally competitive world in which knowledge is the most important asset. It specialises in the generation, promotion and application of knowledge for the sustainable management of natural resources, production of nutritious and safe food and improving the quality of life of society. COLPOS will establish :
Education, research and liaison with the business community
Performing relevant knowledge-generating research for sustainable management of natural resources and the production of nutritious and safe food
Improving the quality of life of society and providing input to academic activities through dissemination in the community.
University of Nottingham, UK
The University of Nottingham has a research portfolio of over £300m, over 2,300 research projects and is 7th in the UK for research power and renowned for strong industry links. Research relevant to food security is UoN’s priority and it has particular strengths in agriculture and crop science. UoN will lead the development, application and evaluation of crop models required in the project and participate in their integration into the Life Platform. Particular areas of knowledge and expertise relevant to this proposal are:
Crop physiology and sustainable agriculture
Crop resource capture and use
Modelling the growth of crops in response to their environment.
IPP, UK Space Agency
The UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) is a £150m multi-year programme launched in 2015. It uses UK organisations’ space knowledge, expertise and capability to provide a sustainable, economic or societal benefit to undeveloped nations and developing economies.
The UK Space Agency will award grants to successful organisations to run projects addressing real-world problems.