Crop monitoring for nutrients, water-stress, disease, fungus, insect attack and overall plant health and development is a vital aspect of successful agricultural operations. Traditionally this has been carried out by visual examination of crops on the ground or sometimes from the air. However these methods are limited by the ability of the human eye to discriminate between healthy foliage and foliage suffering various kinds of stress. Often a specific condition must be well-advanced before visual symptoms become noticeable even to experienced observers.
Modern precision agriculture relies on site-specific management tactics to maximize harvest and resources while reducing environmental impacts such as over-fertilization and the broad applications of pesticides. Pin-pointing areas requiring attention – be it water, weed or pathogen treatment, or nutrient adjustments – allows for spot application rather than whole-field treatment. The collection of key data at a sufficient level of accuracy depends on the availability of equipment that can be operated at a cost-effective level.
Some of the benefits of hyperspectral and multispectral imaging are that these technologies are: low cost, compared with traditional scouting methods, give consistent results, simple to use, allow for rapid assessments, non-destructive, highly accurate, and have a broad range of applications.
The development of aerial and ground-based spectral imaging equipment has been a major breakthrough in the expansion and practical application of precision agriculture techniques. This technology has made possible the assessment of crop stresses, characterization of soils and vegetative cover and harvest estimation, in addition to its predictive capabilities.
By Ruud van der Lem, Drone-Solutions
Drone-Solutions is a specialist in providing solutions in remote sensing, represents French companies that are specialized in flying drones, land and naval robots. Some of these drones / robots are used by the French army.