SpaceSense's Beyond Cloud technology uses radar satellites to provide above-ground biomass information in any weather conditions
SpaceSense’s Beyond Cloud technology hopes to use radar satellites to provide above-ground biomass information in any weather conditions.

Satellite imagery analytics startup SpaceSense has announced a new partnership with Hutchinsons to provide satellite-derived field insights for its growers in real-time, as well as developing a crop health monitoring solution that could provide information even during cloudy weather.

Hutchinsons created Omnia, its precision agronomy service, so that growers could get reliable field data to empower their decision-making. Satellite data has now been added as a core component of that service, and Huchinsons has partnered with SpaceSense to ensure its has access to the most accurate imagery.

Based in France, SpaceSense specialises in providing advanced satellite data to digital agriculture service providers. Its focus is mainly on AI-driven solutions that guarantee scalable information dow to field level, and it provides information on crop health, soil and carbon sequestration.

Thanks to SpaceSense’s ease of integration, all Omnia’s users can now benefit from real-time information on their crop health, chlorophyll levels and general stress monitoring.

“The feedback we got has been quite fantastic,” Hutchinsons’ precision agriculture manager, Oliver Wood, said. “Providing satellite imagery through Omnia allows our agronomists and clients to see their farm in different ways and react to changes faster than has been possible. This could be using variable rate technology to target inputs as well as more conventional husbandry techniques.”

The companies are now looking on how to target their next challenge: clouds.

“Cloud coverage is the main issue of optical satellite imagery,” SpaceSense co-founder Jyotsna Budideti said. “If the satellite passes when there’s a cloud, you can’t get your image. This problem is especially important in the UK, where there are, on average, three times fewer images than in Italy, for example.”

To tackle this challenge, SpaceSense has created its Beyond Cloud technology. Radar satellites, which can see through clouds, are used for this purpose to provide above ground biomass information at the field during any weather. Additionally, this ground-breaking technology can provide an image every two days on average, which means about 150 images a year – six times more than with traditional optical satellite imagery for the UK.

Hutchinsons will be evaluating the new technology on a range of crops such as barley, wheat and oilseed rape throughout the UK during the coming year. |