Precision farming flax

Project: Research

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Main research question/goal

The FLAXSENSE project explored the application of precision farming - that is, working with smart satellite images of flax fields - at the request of the flax growers. Most of the flax area in Flanders is grown through so-called flax cultivation contracts. In this way the cultivation initiative and -risk lies with the 'flaxers' (the first processors of the flax): often they rent different fields for one season only with little knowledge about the field. FLAXSENSE wanted to help the studies to what extent precision farming tools can help to show and analyze variations on plots with flax, without repeatedly assessing each plot separately with the naked eye. In this way, growers can make decisions on the interventions on their flax parcels in a better and much more efficient way.

Research approach

We worked with an operational group of flax growers. Their concern was that their plots are spread over large regions, making it also more difficult to make correct decisions at the right time at all these plots. We initially developed a "viewing tool" that allows growers to easily consult and view the satellite images of their fields. We developed a digital platform for this purpose. In the first test season, the growers used and assessed this web tool, provided feedback about their experiences and proposed adjustments where necessary. Based on the findings of the users, the researchers decided how the precision farming tool coud be further rolled out for the entire flax sector.


Evaluating a field of flax with the naked eye requires a lot of time and knowledge, especially since flax reacts very sensitively to even small differences in soil, nutrients and climate. Significant variations within the plot are not always visible in inspection, leading to wrong crop management decisions. Through satellite images, we were able to gather more accurate and complete information about the condition of the crop, for each scattered plot of the flaxser. Based on the feedback of the operational group, a follow-up trajectory is worked out.

Effective start/end date1/01/1931/12/19

ID: 7361639