Many farms have bought basic drones capable of taking high resolution pictures from the sky over the last year or two.
For $2,000 or less, you can buy a decent quadcopter with a regular RGB colour camera.
But the RGB camera is just the beginning when it comes to collecting data with a drone, explains Matt Johnson of M3 Aerial Productions in the video below.
Beyond the normal colour spectrum, more expensive drones and sensors combinations collect NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) maps and other forms of imagery that can provide information about plant health, chlorophyl content, and water stress. The thing is the investment for infrared sensors capable of capturing this data is still more than most farmers are willing to make. And there’s the education required to understand the system and interpret the results, he notes.
I got to spend a morning scouting some corn and soybean fields in southern Manitoba with Matt earlier this month. As you can see in the video, he flies an AgEagle RX60 (nicknamed Bosco) and a DJI Inspire 1 Pro. Here’s our discussion on how to use drone imagery and where we’re headed with collecting crop information with unmanned aerial vehicles:
- Corn School: Building Management Zones with a UAV
- TechTour: Chad Colby’s Top Tips for Integrating UAV Technology on the Farm
- Turning Drone Imagery Into Usable Information
- Transport Canada Elevating Enforcement of Drone Rules