Radar backscatter demonstrates a unique interaction with certain properties of the Earth’s surface, most notably structure, surface roughness and water content. In the context of agriculture, sensitivity to these characteristics allows some interpretation of the morphology of plants, which changes through their life cycle. It is therefore possible to identify crop type and monitor growth as a result of a crop’s phenological fingerprint. This enables the application of precision farming techniques to crop management, which has benefits such as yield increase, better resource management and reduced environmental impact. The image (above) shows variation in radar backscatter over an agricultural area in Eastern China.