NASA’s Food Security and Agriculture Program, known as NASA Harvest, is partnering with soil analytics company CropX in a broad agricultural effort to monitor soil health and draw insights from around the globe. NASA Harvest and CropX hope to nurture sustainable agrifood ecosystems and provide farmers and industry experts with the data and information they need to conserve resources and improve crop yields.
Combining CropX’s soil data monitoring, comprehensive insights provided by the CropX ag analytics platform, and NASA’s network of Earth-observing satellites, NASA Harvest aims to deliver critical insights to governments and farmers to further science-driven decisionmaking.
“Soil health and nutrient management is at the very root of food security and sustainable agriculture concerns — an accurate understanding of what is actually happening underneath the ground is essential,” noted Nadav Liebermann, CTO of CropX. “Satellite imagery has long been an integral part of CropX algorithms, and our partnership with NASA Harvest will deliver valuable agronomic insights by connecting critical data at different depths underground and from an expansive network of satellites in space. We are looking forward to working with the NASA Harvest team to improve farming decision-making worldwide – in both developed and undeveloped regions.”
NASA has deployed CropX solutions across a group of alfalfa farms in Arizona controlled by IAF Investments Group to test and finetune the algorithms that will become the foundation of nationwide, and eventually global, agriculture insights. Over a 12-month time period with the integration of NASA satellite data and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) information, the pilot program will quickly establish the parameters for water usage estimates, yield prediction, soil quality, and land usage assessments based on multiple crop growing cycles.
Particularly in light of a renewed focus on soil moisture metrics spurred by NASA’s NISAR mission, the team hopes to build upon the pilot study in the coming years by using the best available technology to analyze and support more cost-effective and environmentally efficient farming methods.
First introduced via their involvement in Farm2050, an ecosystem of agrifood industry leaders led by Innovation Endeavors and Finistere Ventures, the new partnership between CropX and NASA Harvest puts collaboration across the public, private and academic sectors into practice. A multidisciplinary consortium led by the University of Maryland, NASA Harvest is dedicated to creating the partnerships needed to unlock innovation in agriculture.
“We are in a constant race to produce and supply enough food in order to feed a rapidly growing global population, with finite land and natural resources. NASA Harvest is dedicated to collaborating with top innovators to make the best possible use of our agricultural land; CropX unites our space-led vision with on-farm intelligence and results,” said Dr. Inbal Becker-Reshef, program director of NASA Harvest.