Besides just the sheer work of moving through crops on foot (and, in some cases, trying not to get lost in them), scouting can prove difficult in just deciding what path to walk. Drone technology is changing that.
According to Adrian Moens of AJM Seeds, using drones to map a field prior to scouting gives agronomists and farmers a better idea of where to walk.
“Originally, when I got started with the drones, I’d just take it to a field, put it in the air and kind of take a visual of what the field would look like,” Moens says in this episode of the Canola School.
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That was before field mapping technology existed, and in a few short years, the process has improved immensely. Moens was later able to put a boundary around fields, set flying parameters and allow the drone to fly autonomously, capturing images he could later stitch together.
“And actually the last couple years…they have now what they call ‘live view,’ so if you would fly the field, by the time the drone has landed, you have a complete stitched image…and you’ll be able to see where the problem is in the field.”
Moens says a quarter section will take roughly 35 minutes to pre-scout via unmanned aerial vehicle (or drone) depending on its batteries, heights, and overlaps.
And though it takes time to set up, and is a little sensitive about the weather, Moens says using this technology saves a lot of time in the long run, simply knowing where to check.