Combining Critical In-Soil Insights and Satellite Observations to Improve Global Agricultural Monitoring
NASA Harvest (NASA’s Food Security and Agriculture program area) and CropX, a global leader in soil analytics for agriculture, today announced a strategic partnership that will give NASA Harvest unprecedented soil insights for its global agricultural monitoring efforts. Supporting a more sustainable food ecosystem, together NASA Harvest and CropX will provide farmers and industry experts with the data and information they need to improve farming sustainability by conserving resources and improving crop yields.
The partnership will further NASA Harvest’s mission to improve food security and advance sustainable agriculture, supporting farmer productivity while preserving natural resources in the United States and worldwide through the use of satellite data. Combining the power of CropX soil data monitoring, comprehensive insights provided by the CropX ag analytics platform, and NASA’s network of Earth-observing satellites, this partnership will result in delivering critical insights to governments and farmers around the globe in support of informed and science-driven decision making.
“Soil health and nutrient management is at the very root of food security and sustainable agriculture concerns – an accurate understanding of what is actually happening underneath the ground is essential,” noted Nadav Liebermann, CropX chief technology officer. “Satellite imagery has long been an integral part of CropX algorithms, and our partnership with NASA Harvest will deliver valuable agronomic insights by connecting critical data at different depths underground and from an expansive network of satellites in space. We are looking forward to working with the NASA Harvest team to improve farming decision-making in both developed and undeveloped regions of the world.”
CropX has implemented strategies across a group of alfalfa farms in Arizona controlled by Integrated Ag Financial (IAF) Investments Group to test and finetune the algorithms that will become the foundation of nationwide, and potentially eventually global, agriculture insights. Over a 12-month time period with the integration of NASA data and international partner agency satellite data, the pilot program will quickly establish the parameters for water usage estimates, yield prediction, soil quality and land usage assessments based on multiple crop growing cycles.
A CropX team member installs a soil quality sensor.
Credits: courtesy of CropX
“We are delighted to collaborate with CropX and NASA Harvest on this most important deployment,” stated Jon-Michael Nahon, IAF senior managing partner, “Optimal and sustainable use of farm inputs is crucial to meeting the world’s food challenge.” Particularly in light of a renewed focus on soil moisture metrics spurred by NASA efforts such as the Soil Moisture Active/Passive (SMAP) mission and the upcoming NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) mission, the team hopes to build upon the pilot study in the coming years by using the best available technology to analyze and support more cost-effective and environmentally efficient farming methods.
“We are in a constant race to produce and supply enough food in order to feed a rapidly growing global population, with finite land and natural resources. NASA Harvest is dedicated to collaborating with top innovators to make the best possible use of our agricultural land; CropX unites our space-led vision with on-farm intelligence and results,” added Inbal Becker-Reshef, program director of NASA Harvest.
“We were impressed by the accuracy and reliability with which the CropX soil monitoring platform was able to both pinpoint various soil health and environmental challenges, as well as determine opportunities for water, energy and nutrient conservation,” Becker-Reshef said. “CropX offers the advanced tools and global farm footprint needed to understand and improve soil health and water quality tied to farming ecosystems around the world. Paired with satellite data, this provides the opportunity to scale these insights in support of farmer productivity and more effective use of available resources.”
First introduced via their involvement in Farm2050, an ecosystem of agrifood industry leaders led by the private companies Innovation Endeavors and Finistere Ventures, the new partnership between CropX and NASA Harvest puts collaboration across the public, private and academic sectors into practice. NASA Harvest is a multidisciplinary consortium of over 40 partners funded by NASA HQ through a competitive selection process and based at the University of Maryland. It is dedicated to creating the partnerships needed to unlock innovation in agriculture. Together, NASA Harvest and CropX plan to quickly scale the program based on learnings from the initial pilot.