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Satellite Images to Assist in European Pesticide Registration

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2007) The European Space Agency (ESA) has announced its support for a new initiative that would utilize satellite images to develop data that will be used in the registration process for agricultural pesticides across Europe. Currently “efficiency data” from field trials is required for pesticide registration in the European Union (EU). Data in the same climatic zones across the EU can be used for registration. The new service, Site Similarity Certification, has been developed in the framework of an ESA-supported project aimed at strengthening the European capacity to provide geo-information services based on Earth observation data. It is expected that the system will reduce the number of pesticide field trials across the EU.ESA map

The national members of the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO), which currently registers all pesticides to be used within the EU, also collects “pesticide efficiency” data from field trails across defined zones of comparable climates across Europe. This system allows data generated in one country to support the registration of pesticides in another country within the same climatic zone. Site Similarity Certification (SSC) merges satellite imagery with conventional physical and biological data such as temperature, precipitation, soil characteristics and recurring natural phenomena. In doing so, the scientific approach to defining and transferring field trial results achieved in one EU member state to another can be improved.

“In view of the needs for testing and regulating Plant Protection Products within EPPO member countries, the continuation of the already successfully started efforts to integrate the use of satellite images into the process of pesticide registration seems to be a promising tool,” EPPO Working Party member Udo Heimbach, Ph.D., said. “Satellite images are intended to be used to prove the similarity of trial sites and herewith to improve the procedure of mutual recognition of trial results throughout Europe, which is one of the aims of EPPO.”

Proving the comparability of crop sites also saves the pesticide industry from carrying out expensive perennial trials, allows field trials to be planned more efficiently and creates the possibility of substituting missing field trials. The SSC is part of an ESA Earth Observation Market Development (EOMD) project that provides geo-information services.

Source: Science Daily


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