Aerial imaging of plant heights could help farmers manage field crops more effectively

phys.org | 3/19/2019 | Staff
normanorma (Posted by) Level 4
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Monitoring the growth patterns of crop plants provides farmers with a strong indication of potential yield, allowing them to tweak crop management to boost production. Now, KAUST researchers have demonstrated that using fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to collect data on vegetation height throughout the crop growth cycle provides a low-cost, simple way of monitoring plant health on a farm-wide scale.

"Farmers routinely have problems identifying areas in their fields that need attention: they cannot see what is happening in a field of 2-meter-high corn that is 800 meters in diameter," says KAUST Ph.D. student Matteo Ziliani, who worked on the project with colleagues under the supervision of Matthew McCabe.

Farmers - Fertilize - Water - Fields - Areas

"Consequently, farmers often uniformly fertilize and water fields, regardless of which areas need more or less. UAVs could help achieve effective precision agriculture, saving money and resources and growing better quality crops.

Ziliani set out to show that the imaging data collected by UAVs is as useful as data retrieved by more expensive LiDAR laser scanning. To do this, the team took multiple images of the same 50-hectare maize field at different points throughout the growing season—one set of color images taken by UAV and the other by ground-based LiDAR. The researchers used each...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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