Seven Drone Mapping Applications For Farming

MetroUAV provides many drone mapping applications for farming.

According to Rob Eggert an ag industry expert at TDS fertilizer, applying drones to farming can see your field from 10,000 ft up, and you can also zoom into just 2 inches above your crops. Farmers quickly realize the value of drone mapping, not only for the ease of use but the numerous farming applications. No other system offers what MetroUAV can supply.

The growing season is here, and we have created a list of the most popular ways drones are utilized to improve farming processes and make educated decisions regarding their crops.

1. Crop Inspection to Identify Parasites and Fungus Infections

Brent Gerke is a farmer who is applying drone mapping to determine problems with plants like fungus infections or parasites. When Brent used the drone mapping program for the first time, he observed that by using the plant health map, he on the MetroUAV menu was able to pinpoint patches of rust fungus in his wheat crops. The red colors on the map quickly and easily showed the scope of the rust fungus in the crops.

“Drone maps are great at estimating the extent of crop damage as well as helping with the clean-up where required

Tyler Smith stated that if a dodder spot the size of a table was located, it could be contained instantly, therefore, limiting from spreading. As a result, it will be a significant saving of labor required to fix the problem.

Drone Mapping Applications For Farming

Top view of a farm using drone mapping for better yields

2. Gather Plant Data 

The ability to carry out full and accurate plant counts is one of the biggest advantages of drone mapping in farming. Rather than having to depend on the time-consuming manual counts performed on only a small part of the field, farmers like Toshiro Aoki can collect the plant data automatically of all his fields in just a few hours using drones.

Aoki, also an agriculture consultant, went on to state that the plant count was the bestselling feature and that it saves him the time and effort of having to do a physical count of a whole field.

Aoki works in Northern California on a private farm. A 74-acre field was planted with hundreds of thousands of tomato plants by an outside company throughout the growing season last year. Aoki didn’t want to be overbilled by the company for plants that were not established. He activated a third-party tool called AgriSens that quickly and easily produced a plant count report which he used to keep the company honest.

Drone Mapping Applications For Farming

3. Analyze Stand Establishment

Besides doing plant counts, soybean and corn, farmers are analyzing stand establishment utilizing drone mapping on newly planted crops to assess if specific areas need to be replanted. FRS can relay maps of emerging fields to Aglytix which is an ag-focused analytics company. Aglytix uses the info to produce reports that outline crop emergence of the entire field, giving a much bigger picture compared to physically sampling on the ground. A stand establishment index along with an economic loss calculation of the field is also included in the report.

Drone Mapping Applications For Farming

4. Create Adjustable Rate Prescriptions for Nitrogen and Pesticide Sprays

Landon Oldham, an ag expert, is entirely aware of the quantity and quality of data he receives via drone maps which can be used to make much better and more informed decision such as targeted nutrient uses and crop reseeding. Drone-generated and zoned shape files can be exported by growers into Ag industry computer programs to quickly and easily produce variable rate prescriptions for pesticide sprays, nitrogen, and various other uses. He isn’t stopping there and is taking it even further with drone mapping applications for farming.

Oldham is also the owner of Heartland Soil Services. The company analyses soil samples to project crop yields and to create maps showing variable rate prescriptions. He is creating a workflow which integrates soil samples with drone photos to produce accurate nutrient prescription maps. Rather than only depending on soil samples which happen about one time per two acres, Oldham’s updated workflow incorporates the sampling with the drone-generated NDVI map data points to collect details at an even more granular scale.

Drone Mapping Applications For Farming

Damaged crops after a storm

5. Evaluate and Clean-up Damage Following Bad Weather

Jeremy used MetroUAV’s drone mapping for farming applications to  generate a damage report for his crops

Jeremy Jones of Overhead Ag combined the info he collected from MetroUAV with a detailed report from Skymatics to assess that amount of damage his 105-acre corn crop in central Illinois suffered after high winds and heavy rainfall. Rather than just depending on the usual ground scouting, which could have missed huge portions of damaged crops, Jones made use of a drone to take a complete picture of the crops. With just a few clicks in the menu, he produced a comprehensive Skymatics plant damage report.

The farmer and seed rep got a much better understanding of the damage caused by the storm from the report that included a crop loss calculation along with a categorized damage map.

Regarding the Skymatic report, Jones mentioned that the polished document gave him much greater detail about the crop loss than by just doing spot checks.

Drone maps are great at estimating the extent of crop damage as well as helping with the clean-up where required. Debris hit Brian Krukewitt soy and corn fields from a tornado that raged through his fields. Using a drone to pinpoint debris hidden by standing corn, he was able to come up with a plan to remove it either before or during harvesting.

Drone Mapping Applications For Farming

6. Settle Reasonable Crop Damage Percentages

Most growers opt for getting insurance on their crops because they know that the potential for crop loss is high. However, insurance adjusters can only see a small section of crop damage from the ground, therefore getting an accurate measure of yield loss is challenging. Gregg Heath of Silicon Falcon Micro Aviation made use of drone mapping this past summer to assist a tobacco grower in getting a fair loss percentage after almost 100 acres of his crop was lost due to heavy rains.

Heath stated that MetroUAV drone photography’s crop surveying.

Heath was able to convince an insurance adjustor to re-inspect a field after he produced an annotated plant health map in only a few hours. This was helpful because the previous initial loss estimate was way below actual results. The detailed map allowed the adjuster to focus on damaged areas previously missed and as a result, the insurance company paid a much higher loss percentage. In the end, the farmer got an extra $110,000 in crop losses.

7. Analysis of Slope and Drainage Post Harvest

It’s not too early to look into the future, even though the growing season is just starting. Agflyers Curt Moore states that there are still many uses for drone maps post-harvest. He said you have a blank canvas once the harvest is done and preparations of the fields are done post-season. This is the ideal time to make a map of the land.

More said it would be a good time to use a drone to generate an elevation map to look at the drainage and slope of the field. Combined with the user-friendly volume measurements from MetroUAV, farmers can map out the fill and cut of future waterways and terraces.

Certain growers like Sam Meeker, take an extra step by making a comparison map of the drainage systems. Moore compared a bare dirt map with clearly visible tile lines to yield maps to analyze how effective the new tilling was and if other drainage tiles are required.

Irrespective of the area or crop, farmers who utilize drones quickly come to the conclusion that they are user-friendly and have numerous applications. Farmers will keep using drones this season to map their crops and make farming even more efficient, streamlined and informed.

Need help with your farm MetroUAV can provide drone mapping applications for farming. Contact Us today! We also do Real Estate Photography!

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