When we think about all of the innovative technologies within the agricultural sector its hard to not think about drone technologies. The use of drones seems to be fitting well with all enterprise mixes as they provide real time surveillance. This live streaming video allows Australian farmers to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to agricultural issues.

The use drones in cropping systems is beginning to gain traction as the aerial surveying is allowing for minimal crop disturbance whilst gathering the much needed data.

Uses for drones in cropping systems

Field Health Reports: Normalized difference vegetation index maps (NDVI) has been a popular tool for gauging crop health. During the photosynthesis process plants absorb visible light (solar radiation) so by measuring the amount of light absorbed and the amount of light reflected we can estimate the overall health of the plant. The results from the drone technologies are usually available in google earth of Geo Tiff formats.

drones in ag

Image sourced from Agribotix

As you can see in the image above the crop scanning technology is highly effective when it comes to areas within your crop that are limited in their photosynthetic capacity.

Variable Rate Mapping: By using the NDVI data you can then generate a gridded management zone map as a vector file which is compatible with most agricultural data management packages. This data can then be used within your variable rate systems.

variable rate in ag

Image sourced from Agribotix

The image above shows the same data in a grid format that can be used for variable rate mapping.

Drones and Livestock

For some livestock examples we have a video of a prime lamb producer near Molong that has been using drones to monitor his livestock. The drone has saved a great deal of time and is capable of gathering valuable information without disturbing the animals.

For some additional information on the role of drones in livestock systems feel free to listen to the ABC interview with Ben Watts that I have linked below.
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