Remote sensing bears the potential to provide quantitative information of agricultural crops instantaneously and of a certain regional extent. Estimates of crop growth which are used for crop yield prediction, and timing of forthcoming harvest are important in agricultural planning and policy making. For non-optimal growing conditions, estimates of crop growth may be inaccurate. Crop monitoring during the growing season by means of optical remote sensing can provide information on plant variables that describe the actual status of agricultural crops during the growing season.
In this paper, the assessment of crop vitality through analysis of both field and laboratory measurements of biophysical and biochemical parameters is investigated for wheat and barley, two main crops grown in Switzerland, be it by yield or by area. Leaf area index (LAI), fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR), water content and chlorophyll content are defined as the main parameters defining plant vitality.