With global population figures steadily in the rise, there are increasing calls for the use of arable land to be managed in an ecologically sustainable way while also producing a high yield.
Under the so-called greening policy, farmers receive bonus payments for providing ecosystem services like crop diversification or preserving permanent pastures and valuable biotopes, with satellite-based Earth observation delivering plenty of information about the condition of farmlands and crops. Images taken during several repeat cycles in the course of a year even provide an insight into the inner life of plants - how much chlorophyll or water do they contain, how well are they supplied with nutrients, what yields can be expected?
Precision farming methods monitor the growth of plants accurately and help run farms efficiently. They also help marking out areas of low yield as ecological protection zones. In the area of international co-operation, Earth observation data help make drought and harvest forecasts, thus contributing to providing food for the population and helping to improve food security in general.