What is Precision Agriculture?
According to the USDA, Precision Ag is an “information and technology based agricultural management system used to identify, analyze, and manage variability within “fields” for optimum profitability, sustainability, and environmental protection.” Fields often vary in soil types, elevations, soil chemistry, fertility, and productivity. AgTS uses manned and unmanned platforms with the Riegl VUX-1 LR LIDAR sensor to collect meaningful data for growers. This data provides time sensitive decision making tools regarding nutrients, irrigation, pesticide and tillage status.
Benefits of Precision Agriculture:
As an example of potential savings, the USDA has calculated that if American producers implemented precision agriculture practices to just 10 % of the total farming land in the US, equipment fuel use would be cut by 16 million gallons, herbicide use by 500K gallons, and insecticide use by 4 million pounds per year. One benefit of Precision Ag would be the optimal application of preventive spraying (both quantity and timing). Without knowledge of actual plant health, spraying may be conducted unnecessarily or not conducted where it’s needed.
UAS based Precision Agriculture:
AgTS uses Unmanned Aircraft (UAS), sensors and software to provide the grower the actionable information they need to quickly and accurately assess crop health. For small to medium growers, the cost to acquire this data is typically much less than manned aircraft or satellite based imagery while providing much higher resolution to base decisions on. We can provide the grower maps and other imagery, data sources as means to gain further insight as to the current health and state of their crop well before visual inspections might have noted the problem.
Time reveals more. AgTS uses software analytics specifically designed for Ag use. This software provides intuitive tools that enable detection of changes in field conditions across time, to more confidently identify problem areas.
How do we do the work?
Flight Operations and Data Collection:
This step involves configuring the aircraft and sensor, safely launching the aircraft, safely recovering the aircraft, and finally extracting the data from the aircraft. We can survey 2500 acres (10 sq. KM) in less than four hours.
Data processing involves stitching together all of the information gathered during the flight. This information includes the pictures taken, elevation, time stamps, speed, grid coordinates which in turn create the data report for the grower. The entire process typically has a 48-72 hour turnaround time. Once complete it will provide comprehensive maps and images that will allow you, the customer, to make better informed decisions throughout your entire growing season.
What services can we provide:
We are able to provide a large variety of information with our ultra-high resolution sensors. Listed below are some of the products we offer:
• NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) or Crop Health Assessment
• Contour Map
• Digital Elevation Model
• Topography Map
• Bare Ground Assessments
• Weed Assessments
• Crop Health Monitoring
• Irrigation Equipment Monitoring
Top: RGB image of field; Bottom: NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) reveals variability in plant vigor and biomass, often times not visible in standard RGB color imagery.