Can water stress be detected independently of plant vigor?

Table of Contents

Accuracy of precision tools is a common concern among first-time users of this technology. They are certainly correct. Many of the platforms have been heavily criticized for providing only color-coded maps that left pioneers with more questions than answers.

The case

A perfect example of this challenge came from Extremadura. In the summer of 2022 they reached record high temperatures with few precedents, despite the area.

This heat wave put producers in the area in check, for the sake of their crops, the monitoring of moisture in the plant mass came to the forefront.

Those of you familiar with parameters such as NDMI (detects moisture levels in vegetation using satellite imagery) will find it logical that it was the first stop to set up this monitoring.

While analyzing a plot that we know very well, something caught our attention: two different crop varieties showed a very different water status according to NDMI. Our agronomy team attributed this to the different vigor between the two, and since the index measures plant moisture, the more vigorous variety would also show higher moisture, which did not imply that it suffered less water stress.

The challenge then was how to use the indices to detect water stress more simply and effectively?

The Solution

Our agronomy team set to work and developed a new index, which not only evaluated the moisture level of the vegetation, but also took into account the vigor of the vegetation. This new LWS (Layer Water Stress) index allowed us to detect water stress regardless of plant vigor level, now both varieties could be evaluated directly.

From Extremadura to the White Desert, this vegetation index will help farmers to make their production more efficient by helping to better detect water-related problems.


This is one of those stories that excites us, with water supplies being key to our existence, fostering processes that ensure sustainability in their use can have immense power in the industry, as according to Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, agriculture is the largest user of freshwater, using a global average of 70% of all surface water supplies.

Imagine if our goal is to make precision tools more and more accurate, we are closer to a responsible and thriving industry every day.

The LWS index helps us to focus on stressed plots, the information provided by the satellite allows us to calculate a more accurate crop coefficient, and the weather forecast helps us to establish an effective irrigation schedule. All this is summarized in the irrigation advisory panel that our customers make use of.

Subscribe to receive the latest news

Latest posts

Download it in PDF

Catalog Download

Thank you for your interest, we will send the requested catalog shortly.

Catalog Download

Thank you for your interest, we will send the requested catalog shortly.

Catalog Download

Thank you for your interest, we will send the requested catalog shortly.

This site is registered on as a development site.