UAS used for Crop Optimisation

Aerial video captivated an audience of farmers last week in Grand Island, watching a cheap camera attached to a small aircraft gets a bird’s eye view.

“You can see a lot from the air you can’t see from the ground,” Dr. Richard Ferguson said. Researchers from the University of Nebraska think the use of unmanned aircraft holds plenty of potential, especially on the farm. Ferguson said, “Anything that lets you look down on the crop in growing season can be very useful. Just to tell us about stress the crop is experiencing, patterns of stresses.”

Images could help them decide when to fertilize and irrigate. “Definitely there’s commercial applications,” Ferguson said. “If crop consultant wanted to be using that in scouting, I think there’s great potential for those applications.” Ferguson has also been conducting research on farms around Hastings to assess the wavelength coming off the corn crop. The idea is to fertilize less, and protect wells in the area. Cameras and sensors are affordable and aircraft technology is constantly improvement.

Tamme van der Wal, partner, AeroVision will talk about European UAS projects for agricultural use during the seminar on april 12th 2012.

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