INTEGRATING TIME-SERIES SAR DATA AND ORYZA CROP GROWTH MODEL IN RICE AREA MAPPING AND YIELD ESTIMATION FOR CROP INSURANCES
Lowland rice in tropical and subtropical regions can be detected precisely and its crop growth can be tracked effectively through Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery, especially where cloud cover restricts the use of optical imagery. Parameterised classification with multi-temporal features derived from regularly acquired, C-band, VV and VH polarized Sentinel-1A SAR imagery was used for mapping rice area. A fully automated processing chain in MAPscape-Rice software was used to convert the multi-temporal SAR data into terrain-geocoded σ0 values, which included strip mosaicking, co-registration of images acquired with the same observation geometry and mode, time-series speckle filtering, terrain geocoding, radiometric calibration and normalization. Further Anisotropic non-linear diffusion (ANLD) filtering was done to smoothen homogeneous targets, while enhancing the difference between neighbouring areas. Multi-Temporal Features viz., max, min, mean, max date, min date and span ratio were extracted from VV and VH polarizations to classify rice pixels. Rice detection was based on the analysis of temporal signature from SAR backscatter in relation to crop stages. About sixty images across four footprints covering 16 samba (Rabi) rice growing districts of Tamil Nadu, India were obtained between August 2017 and January 2018. In-season site visits were conducted across 280 monitoring locations in the footprints for classification purposes and more than 1665 field observations were made for accuracy assessment. A total rice area of 1.07 million ha was mapped with classification accuracy from 90.3 to 94.2 per cent with Kappa values ranging from 0.81 to 0.88. Using ORYZA2000, a weather driven process based crop growth simulation model developed by IRRI, yield estimates were made by integrating remote sensing products viz., seasonal rice area, start of season and backscatter time series. By generating average backscatter for each time series and dB stack for each SoS, LAI values were estimated. The model has generated rice yield estimate for each hectare which were aggregated at administrative boundary level and compared against CCE yield. Yield Simulation accuracy of more than 86–91% at district level and 82–97% at block level from the study indicates the suitability of these products for policy decisions. SAR products and yield information were used to meet the requirements of PMFBY crop insurance scheme in Tamil Nadu and helped in identifying or invoking prevented/failed sowing in 529 villages and total crop failure in 821 villages. In total 303703 farmers were benefitted by this technology in getting payouts of INR 9.94 billion through crop insurance. The satellite technology as an operational service has helped in getting quicker payouts.