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

International Journal of Digital Earth
By: , and 



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%.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Automated Cropland Fallow Algorithm (ACFA) for the Northern Great Plains of USA
Series title International Journal of Digital Earth
DOI 10.1080/17538947.2024.2337221
Volume 17
Issue 1
Year Published 2024
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Western Geographic Science Center
Description 2337221, 23 p.
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