Updated: Jun 18, 2020
Over the past few weeks in the Pacific Northwest, we have seen many apple, cherry, and plum trees begin to bloom, which means the 2020 growing season has begun for many farmers. Grapevines are trailing behind a bit as farmers are beginning to see signs of bud swell. During these early stages of growth, the primary concerns most growers have are early season freezes and insect damage.
This time of year is subject to high temperature variations, which makes it challenging for growers to sleep at night. According to our partner weather.wsu.edu, April 2020 "is about extreme weather—with two record lows and one record high temp" so far in our local Walla Walla area.
This April is about extreme weather—with two record lows & one record high temp.
At innov8.Ag, we are working diligently to partner with the best weather, sensor, and imagery technology companies to provide you with aerial images that help you pinpoint locations at risk for pests, disease, freeze damage, water issues, and nutrient deficiencies.
Weather and pests are consistent with localized damage. Just last week in Colorado, freeze damage varied from 10 to 90 percent for growers throughout the region.
While weather sensors help with localized readings and forecasts, enabling growers to anticipate frost prevention resourcing, imagery can be used to assess the extent of damage after the event. Drones are one tool used to conduct almost real-time research on crop health, enabling growers to examine vegetation health across their entire farms.
Conventional methods of obtaining the same information have included satellite images and plane fly overs, which are more costly and not as granular. By using a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) with infrared cameras, growers can concentrate on specific plants in order to address early stages of pest infestation and disease.
As drone technology and regulations improve, you'll be able to accurately identify crops in your field that have pest or disease damage and use information and images gathered by drones to precisely apply fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. You can even use the images from drone-carried infrared cameras to specifically identify which plants have deficiencies and determine where to apply variable rates of chemicals, ultimately realizing savings to your bottom line.
The same drone technology can be used to count and take stock of animal herds. Infrared cameras highlight animals as individual heat spots, making it much easier to count herds than ever before. It's even possible to use images from infrared cameras to identify and assess animal health issues and take the precautionary measures necessary to treat animals sooner rather than later.
Remote imaging technology continues to improve in terms of resolution, frequency, and cost. Combined with improvements in AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities, imagery will increasingly become a reassuring data source for growers to use in managing their crops.
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