Drone technology offers a number of benefits and solutions for the agricultural industry.
The imagery produced by a drone flight over crops can be used to produce a crop health report. This can be a basic overview of plant health achieved by using the imagery captured by the standard drone camera, or a much more detailed assessment making use of a specialised multi spectrum camera. This will enable the user to identify, and treat, areas of poor plant health caused by lack of nutrients or pest infestations.
Mapping fields after germination of crops gives a quick an accurate overview of how successful the planting process was. Gaps where there should be plants are very obvious and can be investigated to determine if the cause can be attributed to the seed, poor soil quality, or planter problems.
Once the crop has achieved an acceptable level of maturity, the fields can be mapped and a crop count produced(this can be combined with the planting efficiency assessment). Before harvesting the crop, a repeat assessment can be carried out which will show how many of the plants remain when compared to the initial assessment.
Plant health can be continually monitored during the season by mapping the required fields and then producing plant health images. These images will show if the plant is healthy, in stress, or has died off. The advantage of regularly running plant health assessments is it allows for effective, and timely, treatment of areas where plant health is a concern. It also shows how effective the treatment has been in subsequent assessments.
Changes in elevation and slope can often be subtle and not easy to see with the naked eye. These changes may result in excessive water runoff or low areas where water will pool. A terrain elevation map is very effective in showing the changes in elevation so problem areas can be corrected.
The monitoring of pasture land is accomplished by a plant health assessment. This will show if the pasture is healthy, over grazed, or in need of treatment.
The volumetric size of slips can be determined and monitored over time with regular mapping. This will also indicate how effective any remedial action has been.
Drone mapping of waterways is a very cost-effective way of planning and monitoring waterway rehabilitation projects. An initial assessment will show the extent of the work required to start the process of rehabilitation. If fencing is required, an accurate fence line distance can be obtained from the map for costing purposes without having to physically measure the area on the ground. Where planting of suitable vegetation is required, the number of plants required can be worked out and ordered. After remedial action is completed, follow up mapping will reveal how effective the rehabilitation has been, and where additional intervention is required.