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Millet yield estimates in the Sahel using satellite derived soil moisture time series

Gibon F., Pellarin T., Román-Cascón C., Alhassane A., Traoré S., Kerr Y., Lo Seen Chong D., Baron C.. 2018. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 262 : p. 100-109.

In the Sahel, crop growth and yield are strongly linked to climate fluctuations. The low and erratic rainfall the Sahel region has experienced for several years led to poor harvests, associated with dramatic food crises and famines. Consequently, numerous studies were conducted to develop innovative techniques to estimate crop yield based on satellite measurements. Unlike most approaches which use rainfall, temperature or vegetation indices to derive crop yield estimates, the present study investigates the potential of satellite-derived soil moisture products. This study focuses on millet, a major food crop in Africa. A first step was devoted to analyzing the relation between soil moisture and millet yield at the local scale using ground-based soil moisture and millet yield measurements obtained at ten site locations in Niger. Then, the statistical relationship obtained at the local scale was assessed at the regional scale (Niger, Mali, Senegal and Burkina Faso) using satellite-based soil moisture mapping (based on a simple land-surface model and a satellite precipitation product) and compared to millet yield estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) database. It was shown that millet yield variations are closely linked to soil moisture variations during two key periods of the plant growth: the ¿grain filling¿ and the ¿reproductive¿ periods. Soil moisture variations during these two periods led to explain 81% (R²?=?0.81) of the FAO millet yield variations from 1998 to 2014 in the Sahel.

Mots-clés : donnée climatique; banque de données; imagerie par satellite; millet; rendement des cultures; eau du sol; télédétection; sahel; burkina faso; sénégal; mali; niger

Thématique : Méthodes de relevé; Culture des plantes; Ressources en eau et leur gestion; Documentation et information

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