COMBINED ANALYSIS OF RADARSAT-2 SAR AND SENTINEL-2 OPTICAL DATA FOR IMPROVED MONITORING OF TUBER INITIATION STAGE OF POTATO
Tuber initiation and tuber bulking stages are critical part of various phenological phases for potato production. Tuber initiation covers the period from the formation of spherical rhizome ends, the flowering and the start of tuber bulking. In general, the tuberization spans from 3 to 5 weeks after emergence and ends with the row closer i.e. canopies in adjacent rows touch each other across the furrow. Hence, this rapid growth seeks critical agronomic management practices such as irrigation and fertilization. It majorly influences the growth of stems, foliar area, dry weight and number of tubers particularly at the phase of tuber initiation. During these phenological stages, potato crops are susceptible to the infestation of late blight diseases caused by Phytophthora infestans and largely affects the potato production. Thus identifying the crop risk using remote sensing approaches can provide an efficient potato growth monitoring framework. In the context of monitoring crop dynamics, quad-pol Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data has proven to be effective due to its sensitivity towards dielectric and geometric properties. In addition to SAR data, optical remote sensing data derived vegetation information can provide an improved insight into crop growth when combined with SAR data. In this research, quad-pol RADARSAT-2 and Sentinel-2 optical data are analyzed to monitor potato tuberization phase over Bardhaman district in the state ofWest Bengal, which is one of the major potato growing regions in India. The proposed approach uses polarimetric parameters such as backscatter intensities, ratio (HH/VV, VH/VV, linear depolarization ratio), and co-pol correlation ( ρHH–VV) along with the vegetation indices derived from the Sentinel-2 data for understanding the spatio-temporal dynamics. The initial results show a promising accuracy in monitoring the dynamics of potato tuberization. Integration of such earth observation (EO) data, in conjunction with in-situ field measurements, might significantly enhance the current capabilities for crop monitoring.