UAV biomass imagery is a low cost, real time opportunity to make timely decisions on crop management.
Precision Agronomics Australia can acquire crop biomass during the growing season using a UAV mounted Near Infrared camera.
It is a timely, highly accurate, non invasive product that allows subtle changes across broad acre crops to be monitored.
The spatial resolution or pixel size (or ground sample distance) can be as low as 4cm, providing highly accurate information on crop growth patterns. We can even detect individual weeds, and develop ‘spot-spraying’ prescriptions for sprayers with section control.
The data can also be used to develop develop prescriptions for late application of nitrogen, as a comparison to yield maps or simply having images of the crop used for precision ‘ground truthing’.
High resolution airborne imagery captured during late August 2009 to assess crop biomass or plant cell density (PCD) responses to a strip trial assessing increasing gypsum rates across various soil zones with increasing sodicity or exchangeable sodium %. From viewing this imagery it is obvious that the strip with no applied gypsum has very poor crop establishment (red) compared to the gypsum strips where 2.5, 5 and even 10 ton/hectare were applied.
Through further analysis the gypsum response can be assessed which is illustrated in the graph where the plant cell density (PCD) or crop establishment increases as the gypsum rate increases particularly over the more sodic soils with higher exchangeable sodium %. Using airborne imagery in this example has been a great way to ground truth gypsum rates and now builds confidence levels to adopt variable rate gypsum over the entire paddock specifically targeting soils that are gypsum responsive.