Using VanderSat satellite data for irrigation

Evaporation, Soil moisture, Agriculture

VanderSat is currently developing an irrigation module with one of the biggest digital farming platforms in the world. They wanted to know if we could help them improve their irrigation estimates, as calculation errors were leading to yield losses and inefficient use of irrigation water.

Our role

Our technology and expertise enabled us to provide a consistent soil moisture dataset that helped reduce calculation errors in the client’s irrigation model. The data consistency we offer can keep modelling outcomes on track and minimise the errors that creep in when combining different data sources.

We worked with our client to jointly interpret the data and work towards optimising how our data is used in their model.

VanderSat works with the scientific world and international commercial clients to develop clear and scientifically sound irrigation information products. We are currently collaborating with TU Delft and IHE Delft on PhD research that aims to use remote sensing data to prevent waterlogging in irrigated agriculture. Information products can be used in all kinds of ways to assist irrigation, depending on the wishes and capabilities of the client. At present, the most common is the assimilation of high-resolution soil moisture data into the customer’s irrigation scheduling model.

At the end of the season, we had reduced the error in the model outcomes by five times. In other words, VanderSat’s data resulted in optimised water use and increased yield.



In recent decades, irrigated agricultural land has doubled in acreage worldwide. It is now 2.5 times more productive than non-irrigated agriculture. The right amount of water at the right time can optimise crop yield, but this is hard to define without objective information. Overirrigation is a common problem, leading not only to unnecessary water abstraction, but also to problems such as waterlogging and soil salinisation.

Satellites can provide an important independent source of data to assist irrigation, helping customers to determine moisture levels and the amount of water crops need on a daily basis. Equipped with this knowledge, they can make informed decisions on irrigation timing and quantity.

Talk to an expert

Contact Nadja to discuss how you can make use of data assimilation with our high resolution soil moisture products in combination with (hydrological) models to improve your irrigation protocols

Nadja den Besten MSc
Remote Sensing

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