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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  17 Jun 2020

17 Jun 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Early season mapping of winter wheat in China based on Landsat and Sentinel images

Jie Dong1, Yangyang Fu2, Jingjing Wang2, Haifeng Tian3, Shan Fu2, Zheng Niu4, Wei Han5, Yi Zheng2, Jianxi Huang6, and Wenping Yuan2,7 Jie Dong et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • 2School of Atmospheric Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510245, Guangdong, China
  • 3College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, Henan, China
  • 4Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 5Agro-Technical Station, Shandong Province 250100,Shandong, China
  • 6College of Land Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China
  • 7Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), Zhuhai, China

Abstract. Early season crop identification is of great importance for monitoring crop growth and predicting yield for decision-makers and private sectors. As one of the largest producers of winter wheat worldwide, China outputs more than 18% of the global production of winter wheat. However, there are no distribution maps of winter wheat over a large spatial extent with high spatial resolution. In this study, we applied a phenology-based approach to distinguish winter wheat from other crops by comparing the similarity of the seasonal changes of satellite-based vegetation index over all croplands with a standard seasonal change derived from known winter wheat fields. Especially, this study examined the potential of early season large-area mapping of winter wheat and developed accurate winter wheat maps with 30 m spatial resolution for three years (2016–2018) over eleven provinces, which produce more than 98 % of the winter wheat in China. A comprehensive assessment based on survey samples revealed producer' and user' accuracies higher than 89.30 % and 90.59 %, respectively. The winter wheat map exhibited good correspondence with the agricultural census area data at the municipal and county levels. In addition, the earliest identifiable time of the geographical location of winter wheat was achieved by the end of March, giving a lead time of approximately three months before harvest, and the optimal identifiable time of winter wheat was at the end of April with an overall accuracy of 89.88 %. These results are expected to aid in the timely monitoring of crop conditions. The 30 m winter wheat maps in China are available via an open-data repository (DOI:, Dong et al., 2020).

Jie Dong et al.

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Jie Dong et al.

Data sets

30m winter wheat distribution map of China for three years (2016-2018) J. Dong, Y. Fu, J. Wang, H. Tian, S. Fu, Z. Niu, W. Han, Y. Zheng, J. Huang, and W. Yuan

Jie Dong et al.


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Latest update: 29 Sep 2020
Short summary
For the first time, we produced a 30 m winter wheat distribution map in China for three years during 2016-2018. Validated with 33776 survey samples, the map had perfect performance with an overall accuracy of 89.88%. Moreover, the method can identify planting areas of winter wheat three months prior to harvest, that is a valuable information for production predictions and is urgently necessary for policy-makers to reduce economic loss and assess food security.
For the first time, we produced a 30 m winter wheat distribution map in China for three years...