The Mars Crop Yield Forecasting System
Within the MCYFS several elements and independent modules are integrated to monitor crop behaviour and produce crop yield forecasts. The MCYFS is run operationally on an area covering the whole European Continent, Maghreb and Turkey. The crops covered by system simulation models currently are spring barley, grain maize, rape seed, sunflower, potato, sugar beet, field beans, pastures and rice. However, the crop parameters simulated can be extended to other crops or varieties belonging to the same class such as winter barley, durum wheat, and field peas. An extended documentation of the MCYFS can be found under the METAMP report, 2004 (http://agrifish.jrc.it/marsstat/Crop%5FYield%5FForecasting/METAMP/).
The main pillars of the system are:
- Observed meteorological data collection, processing and analysis
- Simulation of agro-meteorological crop growth parameters
- Low resolution satellite data analysis
- Statistical analysis and forecasts
The MCYFS can be ideally divided into three levels:
- At the first level the meteorological data are collected, quality checked, processed and analysed
as own source of information.
- At the second level a simulation engine (a crop growth simulation system) is run to transform
the meteorological data into an effect on crop biomass production. The engines used
are the Crop Growth Monitoring System (WOFOST model adapted to the European Scale)
and LINGRA (used for pastures). At this stage auxiliary information like soil parameters,
crop calendars, crop practices, crop parameters (the last three form the core of the crop
knowledge base) are injected as fundamental information for an acceptable simulation.
Many crop specific indicators and predictors are produced and transferred to the statistical
analysis to support the production of a quantitative yield forecast. The second level of the
system includes as well the processing of remote sensing data to produce measured vegetation
indicators which can be compared with the agro-meteorological indicators and
used as well as predictors. Results from the first two levels are accessible for external users
via the MARSOP-portal (http://www.marsop.info/).
- At the third level, the indicators obtained from meteo, agro-meteo and remote sensing are related to the time series of the official yields and analysed through scenarios. The final results are quantitative yield forecasts that together with the analysis of the previous output are published into the MARS bulletins (http://agrifish.jrc.it/marsstat/Bulletins/2006.htm).