The latest benefits of drone technology and the advances to powerful agriculture-specific drone software tools has meant that adoption of drones in agriculture is at an all-time high. No longer are drones just being used as a tool to obtain aesthetically pleasing aerial photos and video footage – tailored drone solutions are now being used to gather critical data to aid with farms’ agronomy decisions.
Instead of grower and agronomist putting boots on the ground as a first line of defence, the right drone solution is converting the physical farm into the virtual farm, contributing to far greater accuracy in the early detection of potential crop issues.
In this post, we look at some of the key applications for which farmers and their agronomists are using tailored drone solutions, and the reasons why the rates of commercial drone adoption continue to increase in this important industry.
Quantifying crop population
After the time and effort required to prepare a sound seedbed, every grower wants peace of mind that the crop is emerging as expected. A drone, coupled with the correct software tools, allow for the clear identification of areas of the field where crop is failing to emerge. Further quantification of a germination issue can be achieved by the software’s ability to count the number of plants in the field and compare this count against the target population when the field was planted.
The power of this use case gives growers the opportunity to re-plant areas that have failed to emerge and also to evaluate the quality of the seed used.
Assessing crop stress & disease
Generating crop stress reports from drone imagery is a fast and accurate method to detect precise locations within the field where there are signs of potential crop stress. These georeferenced locations can then be targeted as part of the field-walking process to get a more detailed picture of what is going on in those areas.
Drones used in this context allow the grower and their agronomist to monitor and maintain crop health across the entire farm. Fast and simple data collection made possible by drone technology allows detailed surveys to be carried out at a frequency that will ensure you are always on top of your crops’ health.
Detection of weeds
If you read our previous blog post in which we looked specifically at drone use in the detection of blackgrass, you will already understand the benefits that drone technology brings in this area.
Keeping a clean field of crop is critical to its yield prospects come harvest. For this reason, it is really important that growers are keeping a close and regular eye on the emergence of yield-limiting weeds, so that outbreaks can be addressed before it gets out of control. Drones are able to accurately survey the entire cropped area – rather than trying to detect the presence of weeds on foot and extrapolate the findings to estimate the severity across the field, drones used in this scenario can limit the time field-walking to the important, targeted analysis of the potentially problematic areas identified by the drone.
Detection of pest infestation
In a similar way to the detection of weed presence, drones can also be used to identify areas that exhibit pest damage within a crop.
Any grower or agronomist will know that keeping on top of pest infestations is no small task, so anything that can be done to reduce the time it takes to detect and quantify crop-debilitating pests is the first step to the efficient management of the issue. Once again, drone technology allows the entire cropped area to be surveyed, so not only reducing the time to capture important data, it also removes the need for educated guesswork.
The flowering stage of crops and trees can vary greatly, even within the same field or orchard. Instead of estimations being made at ground-level at small sample locations, drones can survey the entire area, and Artificial Intelligence used by dedicated software tools can identify the areas where flowering is visible.
This provides growers and agronomists with great information for deciding the optimal time to apply chemicals and also allows for early yield predictions.
Find out more
RAWview is providing growers and agronomists with an end-to-end solution by recommending and supplying commercial drone equipment, the software capable of delivering the outputs listed above, and pilot training to ensure legal operation of the technology.
We will provide you with all the necessary information and the solution to help integrate commercial drone technology into your farming operation with ease and simplicity.
Contact our team to find out how we can help you today.