Italy-Apulian Tavoliere


The main objectives of the project were to collect soil and crop data in order to: 1) further validate the simulation model AQUACROP to predict durum wheat yield and soil water content; 2) explore the potential of recently ESA launched satellite Sentinel-2 for its use in agriculture.

Owing to the Li-COR equipment malfunction, we could not apply the multivariate geostatistical method of data fusion, described in the previous report, aimed at the prediction of leaf area index (LAI), IPAR and crop height from a set of ground-truth Li-COR measurements by using multi-temporal Sentinel-2 multiband images as auxiliary variables.

Project Objectives

Estimation of Biophysical Variables

Operational Implementation Plan

Biophysical Variables
  • LAI (Leaf Area Index)
  • Biomass
  • IPAR

Forecasting Agricultural Variables

Operational Implementation Plan

Agricultural Variables (large scale)
  • Yield
  • Soil Moisture

Site Description

Landscape TopographyFlat area
Typical Field Size
Climatic ZoneTropics, warm
Major Crops and Calendars

Tomatoes (Normal):
Calendar: April - August
Typical Rotation: two-year rotation (tomato-wheat) and three-year rotation (tomato-wheat-wheat)

Winter Wheat (Normal):
Typical Rotation: two-year rotation (tomato-wheat) and three-year rotation (tomato-wheat-wheat)

Soil Type & Texture


  • Clay
Soil Drainage ClassArray
Irrigation InfrastructureArray
Other Site Details

Site Description

The interest of our study is focused on “Capitanata area”, a plain of about 4000 km2 located in the northern part of Apulia Region (south-eastern Italy, latitude 41° 26’ 56.62” N, longitude 15° 30’ 8.38” E, altitude 89 m a.s.l.). Such area is characterized by farms with average size up to 20 ha, highly productive soils cultivated under intensive and irrigated regime. Winter durum wheat (Triticum durum L.) represents the main cereal crop often grown in rotations with irrigated horticultural species. Among these, processing tomato crop (Lycopersicon aesculentum Mill.) is well represented. In particular, two-year  rotation (tomato-wheat) and three-year  rotation (tomato-wheat-wheat) are the typical farming rotations of this important productive area.

“Capitanata” plain is delimited by the Apennines Chain west and by Gargano Promontory east and is mostly constituted by continental and fluvial sediments and some terraced marine deposits of Pliocene and Pleistocene ages. The climate of this zone is classified as climate “Accentuated Thermo-Mediterranean” (UNESCO-FAO), with winter seasons characterized by temperatures that sometimes descend below 0 °C and hot summers with temperature that may exceed 40 °C. Annual precipitations range between 400 and 800 mm, mostly concentrated in winter months.

In general the soils are deep and clay with vertic behaviour, characterized by large and deep cracks in summer season under rain fed conditions. A wide part of the area is served by an irrigation consortium that fulfill the water requirements of crops with spring-summer cycle (as tomato). In other parts, the irrigation for spring crops is carried out utilizing private wells. The water table is very deep (200-300 m).

Soil Texture: Clay
Landscape Topology: Flat area
Soil Drainage Class: Good

Other Site Specifications:
Irrigation infrastructure is based on irrigation network or on private wells

Figure 1 Ariel Photo of Study Area


Figure 2 Photo of the meteorological station at the experimental farm of CRA-SCA.


Figure 3 Photo of Capitanata.

In Situ Observations

EO Data

Optical Data Requirements

  • Approximate Start Date of Acquisition: 01/03
  • Approximate End Date of Acquisition: 30/11
  • Spatial resolution: Low resolution (above 60m)
  • temporal_frequency: Biweekly
  • Level of Expertise: Intermediate
  • Latency of Data Delivery: More than 5 days
  • Challanges:
  • SAR Data Requirements

    Passive Microwave Data Requirements

    Thermal Data Requirements


    Documents and Files

    Links to paper

    Project Reports

    Study Team

    Team Leader

  • Name: Annamaria Castrignanò
  • Affiliation: Council for Agricultural Research and Economics
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  • Other Team Members

  • Name: Anna Balenzano
  • Affiliation: National Research Council of Italy
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  • Role: Co-Lead