Date of this Version
Scientific Reports | (2022) 12:5244 | https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-09376-6
Satellite remote sensing has great potential to deliver on the promise of a data-driven agricultural revolution, with emerging space-based platforms providing spatiotemporal insights into precisionlevel attributes such as crop water use, vegetation health and condition and crop response to management practices. Using a harmonized collection of high-resolution Planet CubeSat, Sentinel-2, Landsat-8 and additional coarser resolution imagery from MODIS and VIIRS, we exploit a multisatellite data fusion and machine learning approach to deliver a radiometrically calibrated and gap-filled time-series of daily leaf area index (LAI) at an unprecedented spatial resolution of 3 m. The insights available from such high-resolution CubeSat-based LAI data are demonstrated through tracking the growth cycle of a maize crop and identifying observable within-field spatial and temporal variations across key phenological stages. Daily LAI retrievals peaked at the tasseling stage, demonstrating their value for fertilizer and irrigation scheduling. An evaluation of satellite-based retrievals against field-measured LAI data collected from both rain-fed and irrigated fields shows high correlation and captures the spatiotemporal development of intra- and inter-field variations. Novel agricultural insights related to individual vegetative and reproductive growth stages were obtained, showcasing the capacity for new high-resolution CubeSat platforms to deliver actionable intelligence for precision agricultural and related applications.