Farming by Satellite – competition welcomes new ideas


Sentinel-5P (ESA)
Sentinel-5P from the Copernicus programme (Image: ESA)

“How can we use satellite technologies to improve agriculture and reduce environmental impact?” – if you have some good ideas or an innovation that uses satellite technology then you have a chance to win a ‘Farming by Satellite Prize’ prize of €5,000.

Agri-Tech East is supporting the challenge, which builds on the popularity of the Remote Sensing and Monitoring events that it has hosted.

Director Dr Belinda Clarke comments:  “We have been promoting the development of remote sensing and monitoring technologies, particularly from drones and fixed wing aircraft.

“The Sentinel satellites, launched as part of the European Union’s ‘Copernicus’ Earth observation programme, have the potential to help farmers take precision agriculture to a new level. By offering data sources that could be used for monitoring crop health, disease prediction or drought warning.

Business opportunities

“Although the data sets from the Sentinel satellites are free of charge, some of them require additional analysis to be useable, which creates a business opportunity for service providers and we are keen to generate wider understanding of the potential for agri-tech.”

Dr Andrew Speedy, on the Chair of Judges, said: “We’re looking for new ideas and innovations, particularly those relying upon Europe’s satellite navigation services EGNOS, Galileo and the European Earth Observation programme, Copernicus.

“What’s different this year is that students and young professionals are invited to complete their projects in the summer vacation. We’re anticipating submissions featuring hot topics like Big Data, augmented reality, farming 4.0, artificial intelligence and more!”

Forecasting systems and image analysis

Topics in previous years have ranged from geo-referenced online data platforms, swarm technologies, precision seed planting robots, crop type detection and evaluation systems, and a new forecasting system for rice production.

The winners of the most recent competition were a team from ISA Lille in France with their proposal for optimisation of plant cover properties using satellite imagery.

Team member Marie Rolloy recommends people to have confidence and go for it: “You just have to analyse the needs of a market and make a brainstorming on all the solutions you can imagine.

“Winning the prize was a real opportunity for me. First it gave me a wonderful professional experience, and above all confidence in my capacities to create innovations. The Prize allowed us to meet many companies and to expand our contacts but more importantly it, gave us confidence in our idea.”

Finalists will be invited to a major event for the judging and awards ceremony, with all expenses paid.


Agri-Tech East is providing outreach for the competition, which is an initiative of the European GNSS Agency and the European Environment Agency.

The aim of the prize is to promote Europe’s Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Earth Observation (EO) services in agriculture.

It is sponsored by CLAAS, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of agricultural machinery.

Entry details 

Full details on the competition are available at Registration is simple and should be completed before the deadline of 30 June 2018, but early registrations will be able to take advantage of support events.

Final submissions must be received by 7 September 2018.

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