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The Courtyard Partnership

Credit: Satellite Applications Catapult

Pioneering the use of satellite data to adopt more sustainable farming practices

Overview

The Courtyard Partnership is one of a small group of companies driving a technology revolution in modern farming. They are pioneers in a new era of ‘precision agriculture’ combining data from satellite imaging and in-depth soil analysis, with satellite positioning technology. Their goal is to help farmers precisely manage variations in soil type across individual fields, and so improve yields, while adopting more sustainable farming practices.

Impact

Ordnance Survey data and satellite imagery is used to create a digital farm map. Satellite instruments measure ‘soil brightness’ - the reflectance of sunlight off the soil surface to determine soil texture, organic matter and moisture content. This data is combined with soil sample analysis from the field and the farmer’s knowledge to create soil zones.

Courtyard Partnership’s Intelligent Precision Farming (IPF) software uses space data to monitor the health of crops across the zones, enabling farmers to adjust the level of inputs (seed, pesticides or fertiliser) according to the needs of each field, or areas within a field.

These ‘variable rate’ plans are digital maps compatible with the Global Positioning System (GPS) on farm vehicles, enabling them to automatically alter the amount of seed or fertiliser distributed.

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