Satellite Yield Estimation

For the last 5 years we've been working with Andrew Robson who has been leading a sugar industry project on using satellite technology to determine crop yield and crop health. Andrew is based at UNE at Armidale. Andrew's work started in Qld and so there has been some challenges adapting to 2 year crops. This technology works by measuring the vegetation cover of the crop and then using some fancy maths to determine yield.

This table shows the comparisons between farmer estimates and estimates derived from the satellite data.



Grower estimate

2016 season



(Using 4 years of previous data)



(Using 2015 data only)


Condong 1YO 99  95.9 107.8
Condong 2YO 152 122.3 148.6
Broadwater 1YO 93.6 92 144
Broadwater 2YO 134.6 130 178
Harwood 1YO 92 82.2 95.3
Harwood 2YO 153 97.2 104.2

Results are encouraging for Condong and Broadwater but there was issues with the satellite capture of the Harwood image so results are much lower than field estimates. For this reason the Harwood map below shows the vegetation index (GNDVI) rather than cane yield. The higher the index, the higher the yield.

Yield maps for the three mills can be downloaded from the links below. These are big files so it might take some time.

Condong Yield Map

Broadwater Yield Map

Harwood GNDVI Map