RPA Crop Map now available in Field Explorer
View previous cropping records alongside relevant variables, including soil composition, altitude and historic weather
The integration of the RPA's Crop Map of England into Field Explorer edges the sector closer to being able to answer some of the big questions - to improving productivity and safeguarding the environment
Three years of RPA Crop Map of England (CME) data can now be viewed alongside a range of other metrics – such as historic weather, cultivation methods, and soil composition – within Agrimetrics Field Explorer. The CME uses Earth Observation data to classify England's fields into over 28 main crop types, plus grasslands, woodlands and waterbodies, without having to rely on farmers self-reporting.

Funded by the Rural Payment Agency (RPA), the original goals of the CME were to inform the Common Agricultural Policy's (CAP) Basic Payment Scheme. This included the streamlining of processes, e.g. land change detection and the automated monitoring of greening requirements.

However, the applications of the CME go well beyond CAP. Natural England, for example, are using the data to help protect vulnerable species of birds. By understanding the proximity of water, woodlands, and crops (which make up the bulk of many birds' diets), threatened populations can be strategically located. Once located, they can be better protected, and their habitats more effectively monitored.

The British Environment Agency are making use of this data too. Surface run-off is a major problem – reducing the efficacy of herbicides and polluting watercourses (a problem Agrimetrics is helping to solve). This is more common on land which is kept bare for long periods of time. By identifying bare land parcels, water quality inspections can be targeted more effectively. This has net benefits for everyone.

Moving forward, multi-year data can prove a valuable resource for understanding commodity markets and forecasting fluctuations in supply chains; researchers analysing crop disease and rotations will benefit too. This can help improve decision making at all levels – from policy makers to land managers.

Linked data opens new opportunities
To answer the big questions, oversight of all the relevant variables is required
The scope of the CME is limited when viewed in isolation. To answer the big questions, oversight of all the relevant variables is required. Take crop disease (which is an area of research which will benefit from easy access to multi-year cropping data) - weather, soil composition, altitude, application and yield data are all relevant.

This data is available, but it's held in siloes. Combing these data sources so that they can be effectively analysed is rarely simple – it's often time-consuming, expensive and technically demanding.

Agrimetrics offers a short-cut – providing access to 3 years of RFA Crop Map data linked with dozens of other relevant field-level metrics. This data can be viewed for free within the Field Explorer interface. For businesses or institutions undertaking new research or seeking to add value to their products, it can be linked and analysed alongside your data, via a single API.

The Crop Map of England (CME) uses Earth Observation data, supplemented by field inspections and self-reporting, to identify which crop types are growing within English fields. Agrimetrics are pioneering techniques for using Earth Observation data to identify crop types much earlier in the season than is currently possible. This has the potential to significantly improve in-season decision making. Subscribe to our newsletter to be kept up to date on these developments.

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