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Estimating crop yields and production by integrating the FAO Crop Specific Water Balance model with real-time satellite data and ground-based ancillary data

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An operational crop yield model was developed by introducing realtime satellite imagery into a Geographical Information System (GIS) and the Crop Specific Water Balance (CSWB) model of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Input databases were developed with three different resolutions; agro-ecological zone (AEZ) polygons, 7.6 km and 1.1 km pixels; from archived satellite data commonly used by Early Warning Systems (EWS) to simulate maize yield and production in Kenya from 1989 to 1997. Simulated production results from the GIS-based CSWB model were compared to historical maize production reports from two Government of Kenya (GoK) agencies. The coefficients of determination (r2) between the model and GoK district reports ranged from 0.86 to 0.89. The results indicated the 7.6 km pixel-by-pixel analysis was the most favorable method due to the Rainfall Estimate (RFE) input data having the same resolution. The GIS-based CSWB model developed by this study could also be easily expanded for use in other countries, extended for other crops, and improved in the future as satellite technologies improve.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, 403 Shantz Building, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721, USA 2: Office of Arid Lands Studies, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721, USA 3: Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721, USA 4: Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721, USA

Publication date: 2000-12-15

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