The Crop Growth Monitoring System, or CGMS, is a spatial crop
growth model. The core principle of this model is diagrammatically
represented in the figure. The driving force behind plant growth
is photosynthesis. This is a process by which sunlight is used to
produce essential substances for plant growth and health. The quantity
of light a plant can capture is closely linked to the number of
leaves (and thus to the LAI or Leaf Area Index). Some of the products
produced by photosynthesis are immediately used by the plant for
healthy growth. Depending on the growth stage the plant has reached,
the remaining products are converted into biomass (leaf, stem, root,
storage organs). The CGMS makes it possible to calculate, per crop,
the quantity of biomass produced in relation to, among other things,
the quantity of sunlight received.
At European level the satellite data and the CGMA are used as separate
and independent tools.
The figure herunder diagrammatically represents this general European
approach. All EU Member States are included. In the future, the
EU plans to test this methodology on non-European countries, in
Africa for example. In which case, apart from its economic utility,
it could also serve as a detection system for food shortages (comparable
to the FAO
Early Warning System, but specific to a particular crop and
in kg yield per hectare).