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Mike Buis – Martinsville, Indiana

There are benefits to flying drones over crop fields when combined with traditional field checking techniques. Drone flights provide a flexible option for collecting data from fields. In a short amount of time, it is possible to have your drone in the air collecting images quickly. They are much more flexible to use than waiting on satellite imagery from different services which can sometimes take days.

  1. Quick collection of high-resolution imagery
    With most common drones used for field checking today, it is possible to fly and collect images from a 60-80 acre field in 30 minutes or less. This helps to identify problem areas in the field quickly.
  2. Identify problem areas
    There are software options that have made it possible to view your imagery at the field edge within 5-10 minutes of the flight. It is then possible to go to scout areas that are showing issues or problems.
  3. Eliminate wasted efforts
    Compare the traditional field checking pattern of z or w across a field. This is a good method to randomly field check and get a broad idea of what is happening in the field. However, field checking this way becomes more difficult once crops are further in their growth stages. With drone imagery, you will be able to see potential issues in the field that might not be as easily viewable from the ground. While drones will not eliminate the need for ground truthing, they can help to highlight areas of issue that might otherwise be missed.
  4. Understanding your field
    Once imagery is collected, it is possible to use it in other precision agriculture applications. It can then be compared to yield data, as-applied maps, or soil maps to further dive into what is happening in your field.

It is important to compare what you are seeing on the ground versus what you are seeing from the air. Drones are not a substitute for ground truthing and field checking on foot.

Check out this Soil Sessions Webinar where we discuss ways to check your crop.