ESA satellites help ensure efficient use of pesticides in Europe

The European Space Agency (ESA) has developed a new satellite imagery service designed to ensure the more efficient use of pesticides across Europe.

The new service, called Site Similarity Certification (SSC), merges satellite images with conventional data such as temperature, precipitation, soil characteristics and recurring natural
phenomena. The aim is to improve the scientific approach used to define comparable zones, as well as the transferability of field trial results from one EU Member State to another.

Pesticides used within the European Union (EU) must currently be registered with the national members of the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), which requires
efficiency data derived from field trials.

The EPPO has defined zones of comparable climates across Europe that allow data generated in one country to support registration in another country within the same climatic zone.

‘In view of the needs for testing and regulating Plant Protection Products within EPPO member countries, the continuation of the already successfully started efforts to integrate the use of
satellite images into the process of pesticide registration seems to be a promising tool,’ said Dr Udo Heimbach, a member of the EPPO working party.

‘Satellite images are intended to be used to prove the similarity of trial sites and herewith to improve the procedure of mutual recognition of trial results throughout Europe,’ he added.

According to ESA, proving the comparability of cropping sites saves the pesticide industry from carrying out expensive perennial trials, and allows field trials to be planned more efficiently.

The new service, developed by Spatial Business Integration GmbH, is part of ESA’s Earth Observation Market Development (EOMD) project.

EOMD is a programme aimed at strengthening European competences in providing geoinformation services based mainly on Earth Observation data, with a particular emphasis on addressing the needs
of small value-adding companies.

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