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ERMES Report Summary

Project ID: 606983
Funded under: FP7-SPACE
Country: Italy

Final Report Summary - ERMES (ERMES: An Earth obseRvation Model based RicE information Service)

The ERMES project aimed at developing methods and tools to create and disseminate added-value information for the rice farming sector, by integrating optical and satellite remote sensing data from several sources, crop models and in-situ data collected by end-users. In particular, in the European context, ERMES aimed at developing:

- customised regional-scale monitoring services, useful for public authorities and/or private actors interested in small-scale monitoring, not actually covered by existing systems (e.g. AGRI4CAST JRC MARS), of the on-going growing season, and
- customised local-scale monitoring services, able to provide added-value information useful for farmers as support for implementing more rational, economically and environmentally friendly management practices.

In the context of emerging countries, ERMES aimed also at demonstrating the usefulness of some of the developed regional-scale services for filling the gap of information on agricultural systems.

To this aim, a complex rice monitoring system was developed, exploiting Remote Sensing (RS), and crop modelling techniques, and advanced ICT solution to provide actable information for agricultural management at either regional or local scale. The system includes two main downstream services line, developed in the COPERNICUS framework. The Regional Rice Service focuses on creating and disseminating Near Real Time (NRT), spatialized information at regional scale concerning, for example, surface of rice cultivated areas, status of the rice season, forecasted biotic risks and Yield forecasts at rice district level. The Local Rice Service focuses instead on integrating high-resolution RS imagery (mainly commercial), local weather and field data, and modelling solutions to provide information supporting implementation of more sustainable (economically and environmentally) agropractices.

The system was operationally tested during 2015 and 2016, demonstrating its robustness and flexibility in coping with unforeseen situations thanks to the redundant and complementary nature of its data sources and products. This high level of operationality constitutes a significant demonstration of the quality of the job conducted by the ERMES consortium. It also allowed constantly and effectively demonstrating and disseminating ERMES results towards end users and stakeholders, including public authorities, insurance/reinsurance companies, single farmers or consortia and agro-consulting providers. The very positive feedback gathered from these different target groups suggests that the market is starting to be mature for the development of services for the agriculture sector supported by high-level scientific evidence, if data processing is customised to respond to end users’ needs, support for its use is provided, and information conveyed to interested stakeholders in a timely and user-friendly way. This document provides a brief non-technical synthesis of activities conducted within the project in its three years lifespan. It highlights its main scientific and technical achievements, and provides insights about potential future exploitation of the developed services.

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