Planet Crop Biomass Planetary Variable product © 2024 Planet Labs PBC. All Rights Reserved.
AUTHOR PROFILE Stephanie Giard
Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

Next Generation Agriculture Monitoring at Scale With Planet’s Crop Biomass


Just in time for the growing season, we’re excited to share that we’ve made improvements to our Crop Biomass Planetary Variable. The latest version now includes input from our daily, global PlanetScope data in addition to Sentinel-1 cloud penetrating radar data and Sentinel-2 optical data. The output is an easy to ingest, consistent, daily time series that enables large scale monitoring of crop growth. 

Crop biomass in agricultural fields is highly dynamic and changes throughout the growing season as plants grow, encounter stressors, and approach harvest. Timely and frequent access to crop biomass data is essential for understanding these dynamics and making informed decisions regarding crop management, scouting, and intervention. Utilizing Crop Biomass within a digital farming platform, will help agronomists and growers optimize profitability and sustainability by finding the optimal balance of crop inputs to improve yield. 

Indices derived from remotely sensed data have been a critical component for precision agriculture for many years. However, this data can present a few challenges that Crop Biomass is actively working to overcome, including: the need to build data advanced pipelines to integrate imagery into company-specific platforms, large gaps in coverage during the growing season, and hidden costs associated with the download, processing, and storage of large files. 

With the enhancements made to Crop Biomass, we’re aiming to make it easier for users to get clean, daily data feeds to monitor crop growth. The product is a fusion of microwave and optical satellite imagery, using the advantages of each to accurately estimate relative aboveground crop biomass regardless of cloud cover. A few highlights of this dataset: 

  • The data is consistently delivered at the same time each day, making it easy to integrate into existing workflows for agronomists and crop advisors.
  • The archive dates back to 2019, enabling the creation of management zones and allowing for benchmarking against a field’s historical crop performance.
  • Crop Biomass does not require any cloud masking, georectification, co-registration, and can easily be coupled with Planet’s full product suite, including Field Boundaries, Soil Water Content, Land Surface Temperature, and Planet’s high-resolution tasking data. 
  • Crop Biomass can be delivered to your cloud through the Subscriptions API. Or you can deliver your subscriptions to Sentinel Hub – enabling rapid analysis through advanced cloud-based APIs.
Planet’s cloud-free Crop Biomass data provides a straightforward, analysis-ready datastream to track crop growth and optimize in-season management decisions

With Sentinel Hub delivery, you can get started with analyzing this data immediately. There is no need to stand up complex cloud infrastructure to manage data pipelines, rather, users simply set their areas and times of interest and start leveraging APIs for analysis and visualization. Sentinel Hub APIs can generate time series statistics per field across broad areas, or they can be used to generate zones by looking at histogram statistics within a field. This work frees platform developers to focus on building higher level analytics, giving their company a competitive edge. 

Planet customer Disagro shared, “Crop Biomass is a highly valuable and complementary service for us and our clients whose areas of focus are often affected by high cloud cover. Strategic partners like Planet provide us with the technical support needed to increase the usability of satellite imagery and bring Digital Agriculture practices to our regions under management.”

Interested in learning more about Crop Biomass or our other Planetary Variables? Check out our Intro to Crop Biomass course on Planet University.