Farms in the Mullewa area have been the focus of a remote sensing project run between the Department of Agriculture and Food, CSIRO and their Japanese partners, the Earth Remote Sensing Data Analysis Centre (ERSDAC).
ERSDAC have been tasked for research and development of satellite data applications by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to build a new hyperspectral satellite sensor to be launched in 2013.
Department research officer Buddy Wheaton said the scientific satellite would have the potential to provide mapping and monitoring data for a range of agricultural applications.
"This satellite has the potential to provide us with broadscale information on crop biomass and yield, soil loss through erosion from varying soil types and dry biomass content critical for soil stability," Mr Wheaton said.
Scientists from the department, CSIRO and Japan have recently taken crop and soil samples, as well as hand held hyperspectral measurements from cooperating farms in the Mullewa area.
At the same time, aircraft-mounted hyperspectral imagery of these farms will be collected. Together this information will be used to estimate biomass and crop yields on a paddock by paddock basis.
"This ground information is correlated with hyperspectral imagery to verify what is actually occurring on the ground," Mr Wheaton said.
"In the future we hope to use this type of data to provide farmers with information on biomass, crop yield, soil minerals and potential soil loss."
Mullewa was chosen as the area of focus because the Department has recently recorded the soil characteristics of a number of soils in the area as a part of its Yield Prophet Project.
Similar data will continue to be collected in the area in February and July 2010.