BASF and VanderSat offer farmers cloud-free biomass images

28-01-2021 | |
Photo: ESA/ATG
Photo: ESA/ATG

BASF Digital Farming GmbH in cooperation with VanderSat offer farmers access to scalable, daily biomass images unimpeded by cloud cover. Farmers gain access to reliable, daily, highly accurate biomass images enabling consistent crop growth monitoring.

BASF Digital Farming GmbH and VanderSat have signed a commercial agreement, which will see the integration of VanderSat’s ‘Cloud-free Biomass’ product with BASF Digital Farming’s xarvio Field Manager solution.

The companies say farmers will get daily access to high quality, consistent, cloud-free biomass images. “Faster access to biomass images, enables consistent monitoring of crop growth and leads to enhanced agronomic decisions. This optimises crop production, saves time and money, and fosters sustainability in agriculture.”

High spatial resolution

Cloud-free Biomass has a high spatial resolution (10 meters x 10 meters) and provides a single, consistent metric of crop biomass. This allows farmers to compare the performance of several fields over a large area, or in different growing seasons.

Daily measure of crop biomass

Integrating three different satellite products together, Cloud-free Biomass uses VanderSat’s retrieval method for passive microwave technology, along with active microwave from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sentinel-1 satellite and optical images from its Sentinel-2 satellite. VanderSat then uses its expertise in remote sensing to interpret the output from these data sources to provide a reliable, daily measure of crop biomass.

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Cloud-free Biomass will use active microwave from European Space Agency’s Sentinel -1 satellite. - Photo: ESA/ATG

Cloud-free Biomass will use active microwave from European Space Agency’s Sentinel -1 satellite. – Photo: ESA/ATG

Biomass images unimpeded by cloud cover

In some parts of Europe, North and Latin America biomass images are significantly obstructed by cloud cover. At times it can take more than two weeks to receive a ‘clean’ biomass image, which by then is usually outdated because crop conditions have changed.

Cloud-free Biomass images are available daily and offer significant benefits. Unlike Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) biomass images from satellites, which are not available on cloudy days and only measure spectral greenness, Cloud-free Biomass also measures biophysical parameters and water content in vegetation to continually and accurately calculate all stages of crop growth during the entire growing season.


Cloud-free Biomass is expected to be integrated into xarvio Field Manager by the end of March 2021 and will be available in North America and Latin America. Other regions will follow during the year.

The commercial agreement between BASF Digital Farming Solutions GmbH and VanderSat covers Canada, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Germany and the Ukraine.

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Hugo Claver Web editor for Future Farming