STB Research Report
Application Of Satellite
Data To Crop Area
Estimation At The County
Michael E. Bellow
APPLICATION OF SATELLITE DATA TO CROP AREA ESTIMATION AT THE
COUNTY LEVEL, by Michael E. Bellow, Research Division, National Agricultural Statistics
Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., December 1994. NASS Research
Report No. STB-94-02.
This report describes the use of earth resources satellite data by the National Agricultural Statistics
Service (NASS) to estimate crop planted area at the county or small domain level. The Battese-
Fuller random effects model has recently been applied to obtain acreage indications submitted to
NASS State Statistical Offices in the Mississippi Delta Region for input into their setting of
official county estimates. This method extends the regression approach used for crop area
estimation at the State level by incorporating an additional term that accounts for county effects.
An alternative method, known as pixel count estimation, uses overall counts of satellite pixels
classified to different crops and ground cover types within a county. The two methods are
described and compared for several crops using Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) data from Iowa
(1988), Mississippi (1991-92) and Louisiana (1992). The satellite based estimates are compared
with corresponding NASS official estimates.
Regression, Battese-Fuller, ratio, county effect
IIThis paper was prepared for limited distribution to the research community outside the U.S.
iDepartment of Agriculture. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of NASS or
The author thanks Mitch Graham, Martin Ozga and Bill Mason for their assistance with data
processing and analysis. Appreciation is due to the State Statistical Office staff members,
NASDA enumerators and Remote Sensing Section support staff who performed various