Keeping track of crops in a typical farm can be a very difficult challenge. Most farmers have a limited view of their crops at any given time. This is especially true in farms with tall crops such as corn and fruit-bearing trees, where the view is severely limited. With new monitoring techniques such as aerial imaging, farmers can keep an eye on their crops from a whole new perspective.
Aerial imaging is a process that involves taking images of a farm directly from above it. When the sun is at its highest, a plane loaded with advanced cameras flies over the area being monitored. It’s very important to perform aerial imaging during noontime since that is the time of the day when the crops are under the most stress and the lighting is optimal.
Aside from taking regular photographs using visible light, advanced aerial imaging also involves capturing infrared images that can provide more insight into the overall condition of the crops. Advanced aerial imaging is often done with a plane because the hardware is too heavy for a drone. Furthermore, planes can cover a larger area faster than drones.
The information obtained through aerial imaging is a valuable reference to farm owners who want to get the most out of their farms. Here are just a few examples of how aerial imaging works to their advantage.
Visual Identification of Common Crop Problems
Aerial imaging allows farmers to get a quick yet comprehensive view of the farm to check for signs of problems. For example, if one part of the farm is not getting as much water as the rest, it will quickly show up as a patch of drier or wilted crops. Higher resolution imaging can also show signs of more serious problems, such as pest damage or plant diseases.
Preparing the Land
Aerial imaging allows farmers to accurately monitor the current status of the soil. This is especially useful during summer season when water is a bit limited. Thanks to the information obtained from aerial imaging, farmers can make the necessary changes to their irrigation system to ensure that they make the most out of their water supply.
See Less Conspicuous Crop Problems
Advanced aerial imagery can help track problems that are not obvious to the naked eye. For example, the technology can be used to take a series of images that detect chlorophyll levels in the plants. This, in turn, may indicate problems such as lack of nutrition due to suboptimal distribution of fertilizer.
Improve Cost-efficiency and Reduce Overheads
With the information gathered from aerial imaging, it’s much easier for farmers to plan how they can improve yield while reducing the cost of maintaining the field. A better knowledge of the farm’s overall condition leads to more efficient distribution of water, fertilizer, and even future crop placements to minimize overheads and maximize productivity.
Aside from benefiting from the more technical aspect of aerial imaging, a farmer can use the images to help showcase their farm to other businesses that they are interested in partnering with. Applying modern technology in farm management is a great way to attract buyers since it shows that the farmer wants to keep up with an evolving industry.
Aerial imaging may seem like something that only larger farms need, but even the smallest plots of farm land can greatly benefit from it. Even the most basic form of aerial imaging is more efficient and less resource-consuming compared to manual assessments or attempting to survey the land from the ground level. By using this technology to gather information in a quick and timely manner, a farmer creates more opportunities for maximizing land use and management.