CropWatch analyses of global production and environmental and agricultural trends are based on remote sensing and ground data and a combination of well-established and innovative methodologies. Over the years, the CropWatch system has been updated regularly as new data and methodologies became available or matured. The latest bulletins have used a new hierarchical approach of indicators and spatial scales and a new operational methodology, while also taking advantage of several new remote sensing data sources.

Hierarchical Method

The CropWatch hierarchical approach for crop production monitoring involves the use of specific environmental and agricultural indicators on different scales, using the combined information to assess global, regional, and national (as well as sub-national) crop condition, production, and agricultural trends. The analysis covers the following four levels:201412820519630.jpg

Global — Inputs include rainfall, temperature, photosynthetically active radiation, and potential biomass. Outputs on this level are assessments of environmental indices for sixty crop production system zones.

Regional — Inputs include the vegetation health index, uncropped arable land, cropping intensity, and maximum values for the vegetation condition index during the growing season. Outputs are information on agricultural patterns, farming intensity, and biomass trends in six major production zones in the world.

National — Inputs are NDVI, crop cultivation area, and time profile clustering. Outputs are information on cropland use intensity, crop condition, yield, and production, for each of thirty key countries and China, together representing at least 80 percent of global production of the major cereals and soybean.

Sub-national — For large countries, analysis is performed on a sub-national level. In the case of China, additional information on crop planting structure is analyzed. Outputs on the sub-national level are similar to those on the national level, but with more detailed information

For the analysis, each level is covered with specific indicators adapted to its scale, while the next broader level provides the overall background. Using the outputs on the four levels, a synthesis of crop production and crop condition estimates is published quarterly in the CropWatch bulletin.

Data Sources And Supplementary Information

CropWatch currently mostly relies on publicly available satellite remote sensing and in situ data. Detailed descriptions of CropWatch methodology and definition of spatial units are posted with each bulletin and on the bulletin page, with additional detail provided in the publications. Because of the relative newness of some of the methods and data, further adjustments of the methodologies are expected for future bulletins, to incorporate ongoing research on the data and experimental methodologies, as well as feedback on these initial approaches.

Quick Report General Resources

Name Abbreviation

5YAFive-year average, the average for the four-month period; one of the standard reference periods.
15YAFifteen-year average, the average for the four-month period; one of the standard reference periods and typically referred to as “average.”
AIRCASAerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences
BIOMSSCropWatch agroclimatic indicator for biomass production potential
BOMAustralian Bureau of Meteorology
CALFCropped Arable Land Fraction
CASChinese Academy of Sciences
CPICrop Production Index
CWAICropWatch Agroclimatic Indicator
CWSUCropWatch Spatial Units
DMDry matter
EC/JRCEuropean Commission Joint Research Centre
ENSOEI Niño Southern Oscillation
FAOFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
GAULGlobal Administrative Units Layer
GVGGPS, Video, and GIS data
MPZMajor Production Zone
MRUMonitoring and Reporting Unit
NDVINormalized Difference Vegetation Index
OCHAUN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
PARPhotosynthetically active radiation
RADICAS Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth
RADPARCropWatch PAR agroclimatic indicator
RAINCropWatch rainfall agroclimatic indicator
SOISouthern Oscillation Index
TEMPCropWatch air temperature agroclimatic indicator
TonThousand kilograms
VCIxCropWatch maximum Vegetation Condition Index
VHICropWatch Vegetation Health Index
VHInCropWatch minimum Vegetation Health Index
W/m2Watt per square meter