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

Gibon François, Pellarin Thierry, Román-Cascón Carlos, Alhassane Agali, Traoré Seydou, Kerr Yann, Lo Seen Chong Danny, Baron Christian. 2018. Millet yield estimates in the Sahel using satellite derived soil moisture time series. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 262 : pp. 100-109.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Quartile : Q1, Sujet : FORESTRY / Quartile : Outlier, Sujet : AGRONOMY / Quartile : Q1, Sujet : METEOROLOGY & ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES

Abstract : 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 Agrovoc : Télédétection, Eau du sol, Rendement des cultures, millet, Imagerie par satellite, Banque de données, Donnée climatique

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Niger, Mali, Sénégal, Burkina Faso, Sahel

Mots-clés libres : Soil moisture, SMOS, Crop yield, Data assimilation, FAO, Sahel, Niger

Classification Agris : U30 - Research methods
F01 - Crops
P10 - Water resources and management
C30 - Documentation and information

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 1 (2014-2018) - Agriculture écologiquement intensive

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Gibon François, Université de Grenoble (FRA)
  • Pellarin Thierry, Université de Grenoble (FRA) - auteur correspondant
  • Román-Cascón Carlos, Université de Grenoble (FRA)
  • Alhassane Agali, AGRHYMET (NER)
  • Traoré Seydou, AGRHYMET (NER)
  • Kerr Yann, CESBIO (FRA)
  • Lo Seen Chong Danny, CIRAD-ES-UMR TETIS (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-7773-2109
  • Baron Christian, CIRAD-ES-UMR TETIS (FRA)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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