Better-than-the-Eye Aerial View Field Scouting for Plant Health Protection
Buckland and Nackley labs
Plant health measures can be monitored through multispectral digital imagery from UAS-mounted cameras. UAS stands for Unmanned Aircraft System, with the small aircraft informally called a "drone." Changes in light wavelengths that are not observable by the human eye can be monitored by isolating red and near-red spectrums. Crops can be surveyed over a large area for early signs of insect damage, drought stress, or nutrient deficiencies, allowing farmers to target areas for pest control or fertilizer inputs and minimize yield loss.
While research projects with the BEAV are a key program component, the main focus of this program is grower outreach. Purchasing equipment and software is costly. Commercially available tools are not always focused towards on-farm deployment and quick, easy analysis. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the technology available and the grower in the field to help provide a useful, easily accessible tool for plant health monitoring. A successful UAS scouting program can help growers keep yields high while minimizing inputs.