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Rule 7

Choose the fallow category if the fields looks like it was an annual cropland that is somewhat overgrown, and hasn’t been planted in a few seasons.

In practice it can be difficult to tell an actively used field that should be classified as annual cropland from one that is fallow. So what does “fallow” mean? According to the Oxford definition, it is:

(of farmland) ploughed and harrowed but left for a period without being sown in order to restore its fertility or to avoid surplus production.

In an image, you can recognize a fallow because it:

You can see this in the image below, which shows growing and off-season false color images, as well as basemap imagery, over a complex landscape that has a mix of fallows and active fields. The fallows are indicated with blue arrows (and shown labelled at the bottom). Yellow arrows indicate areas that we consider to be non-agricultural (and therefore not labelled).

So how do we distinguish between i) fallows and active cropland, and between ii) fallows and non-agricultural land here? We give answers beneath the image.


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