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Automated Cropland Fallow Algorithm (ACFA) for the Northern Great Plains of USA

May 9, 2024

Cropland fallowing is choosing not to plant a crop during a season when a crop is normally planted. It is an important component of many crop rotations and can improve soil moisture and health. Knowing which fields are fallow is critical to assess crop productivity and crop water productivity, needed for food security assessments. The annual spatial extent of cropland fallows is poorly understood within the United States (U.S.). The U.S. Department of Agriculture Cropland Data Layer does provide cropland fallow areas; however, at a significantly lower confidence than their cropland classes. This study developed a methodology to map cropland fallows within the Northern Great Plains region of the U.S. using an easily implementable decision tree algorithm leveraging training and validation data from wet (2019), normal (2015), and dry (2017) precipitation years to account for climatic variability. The decision trees automated cropland fallow algorithm (ACFA) was coded on a cloud platform utilizing remotely sensed, time-series data from the years 2010–2019 to separate cropland fallows from other land cover/land use classes. Overall accuracies varied between 96%-98%. Producer’s and user’s accuracies of cropland fallow class varied between 70-87%.

Publication Year 2024
Title Automated Cropland Fallow Algorithm (ACFA) for the Northern Great Plains of USA
DOI 10.1080/17538947.2024.2337221
Authors Adam Oliphant, Prasad Thenkabail, Pardhasaradhi Teluguntla, Itiya Aneece, Daniel Foley, Richard L. McCormick
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title International Journal of Digital Earth
Index ID 70254154
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Geographic Science Center