U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Published in Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing (June 2003) 69(6): pp. 647–664.


Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and various government agencies and private institutions have provided a great deal of fundamental information relating spectral reflectance and thermal emittance properties of soils and crops to their agronomic and biophysical characteristics. This knowledge has facilitated the development and use of various remote sensing methods for non-destructive monitoring of plant growth and development and for the detection of many environmental stresses which limit plant productivity. Coupled with rapid advances in computing and positionlocating technologies, remote sensing from ground-, air-, and space-based platforms is now capable of providing detailed spatial and temporal information on plant response to their local environment that is needed for site specific agricultural management approaches. This manuscript, which emphasizes contributions by ARS researchers, reviews the biophysical basis of remote sensing; examines approaches that have been developed, refined, and tested for management of water, nutrients, and pests in agricultural crops; and assesses the role of remote sensing in yield prediction. It concludes with a discussion of challenges facing remote sensing in the future.