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Sunday, August 21, 2016

PRECISION AGRICULTURE - SOME INFO


What Is Precision Agriculture?. The defination of Precision agriculture is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring and responding to inter- and intra-field variability in crops. The goal of precision agriculture is to more efficiently apply a farm’s limited resources to gain maximum yield. A primary method for doing that is to minimize variability of crop health within and across fields. To learn more about precision agriculture, read this excellent overview published by The Economist. Due to its nature, precision agriculture requires a LOT of data to work. The three main types of data include Geo-tagged images, Visible and multi-spectral aerial images taken of fields and over time it needs the drones play. It also include specific equipment performance and a real time feedback or logs provided by sensor-equipped manned and unmanned equipment such as seeders, spreaders, tractors and combines. The ability of management data such as crop yield and other data provided by farm operators. Recently the use of precision agriculture technologies is growing very quickly, globally, as part of the effective technology to increase food production. Developed country currently are the mos user in precision agriculture operated by private sectors, individual farmers and agencies.

Where Do Drones Fit in Precision Agriculture?. Drones are really just a new, high-precision way to obtain geo-tagged images from the air. Compared with other aerial survey methods, drones generate more precise and more frequent data about the condition of crops. This data is used in many ways to improve the performance of a farm’s operation. For surveying fields of less than 50 hectares in size, drones are cheaper than manned aircraft surveillance, manned scouting and satellite imaging. Some claim that the new FAA rules will restrict the usefulness of drones for agriculture, because under the new Part 107 rules in certain USA , all observation and measurement must be taken by a drone that is within visual line of site (VLOS) of the operator. This becomes an issue for fields and farms that are bigger than VLOS. But the vast majority of farms don’t have this problem. According to this report, there are approximately 2.1 million farms in America. The average size is 434 acres. Small family farms, averaging 231 acres, make up 88 percent, meaning that 1.85 million farms can benefit immediately from ag drones.

Drones are used to gather a variety of image-based data about the condition of crops, fields and livestock including data such as plant height, plant count, plant health, presence of nutrients, presence of disease, presence of weeds, relative biomass estimates and the 3D / volumetric data (piles, patches, holes and hills). Normally for livestock operations, drones can be used to monitor the location, status and movement of animals over time with more frequency and at a lower cost than other means. Drone data is used to do farming jobs more effectively and efficiently, including the activity such as Crop Scouting (replace men with drones:, Crop Health Monitoring (it was the biggest ROI by far),
Field Surveying/Scouting (before planting), Nitrogen Recommendation, Yield Monitoring, Plant Stress Monitoring, Drought Assessment. Senescence Analysis, Leaf Area Indexing Activity, Phenology, Tree Classification and more. Usually to take quick action, orthomosaic images generated by drones can be fed into an agricultural program likeSMS by Ag Leader, SST Summit®, FarmRite®, Stratus®, Sirrus®” or other software tools to createprescription maps. Prescription maps inform the farm operator where & what specific actions are needed, such as increasing or decreasing nitrogen spread on trouble spots. Prescription maps can be transferred directly into a precision applicator (sprayer) like a John Deere. This information gethered from various sources. Thanks.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Pulau Banggi, Sabah,
Malaysia.
(Visit potential estates by FELCRA).

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