Drones Help Coffee Grower Evaluate Crop Health 85% Faster Than Manned Aircraft

Aerial Mapping Company Uses DroneDeploy and FarmSolutions to Stop Guinea Grass in its Tracks and Save Crop Yield

When it comes to agriculture, timing is everything. Diseases and invasive species spread fast. In the time it takes to process NDVI imagery taken from a manned aircraft, what began as a small problem can spread to something much larger. As Nicholas Seymour can attest, the use of drones in agriculture eliminates much of this wait time, giving growers the information they need in less than forty-eight hours.

By combining DroneDeploy’s aerial mapping software with powerful drone apps like Dronifi’s FarmSolutions, Nicholas and his company, SRHI Imagery and Aerial Mapping, helped a coffee grower assess the spread of an invasive vine 85% faster than if they had gathered NDVI imagery from a manned aircraft.

Agriculture Professionals Access FarmSolutions on the DroneDeploy App Marketplace

Nicholas Seymour is the Marketing and Project Lead for SRHI Imagery and Aerial Mapping, a precision UAV imagery company serving customers in Oahu and Kauai. The company is a new branch of Seymour Resources Hawaii, a family owned irrigation services business. The company first began using aerial mapping to help diagnose customer’s irrigation problems, but soon expanded after realizing the wider applications of using drones in the agriculture industry. They now regularly use DroneDeploy and FarmSolutions to help growers assess the conditions of their fields.

Dronifi is a UAV software platform developed in California by New Idea Software. In addition Dronifi, the company has two apps available on the DroneDeploy App Market. One of those drone apps is FarmSolutions, which leverages Dronifi’s image analysis, task management and reporting system to bring advanced crop health tools to DroneDeploy users.

Nicholas, along with Katharine Rosser of Dronifi, recently discussed how FarmSolutions made its way to the DroneDeploy App Market, where agriculture professionals are quickly discovering its full potential.

Sections of invasive guinea grass are visible on this orthomosaic map. Agriculture expert and drone service provider Nicholas Seymour used FarmSolutions to further analyze the grass’ spread.

Drone Apps Help Coffee Grower Assess the Spread of Guinea Grass 85% Faster

Recently, Nicholas was approached by a prospective client, a coffee grower concerned about guinea grass that had crept into his fields. Guinea grass is an invasive species that suppresses local plants. Left unchecked, it wreaks havoc on coffee crop. Patches of the grass were discovered during routine ground inspection of the coffee fields, and the grower needed a way to quickly assess the level of damage throughout the entire field. He could have hired a manned aircraft to capture NDVI imagery of his fields, but these results often arrive too late.

“I hear about two week turnaround times for manned aircraft,” says Nicholas. “By that time, a lot of damage has been done.” Aerial mapping, on the other hand, can turn around key field data within 24–48 hours.

Curious to see how the use of drones in agriculture can speed up the crop assessment process, the grower tasked SRHI Imagery and Aerial Mapping with flying a test section of his coffee fields — just over fifteen acres. Nicholas knew the success of this test flight could convince the grower, and ultimately lead to more business for the company.

Wanting just the right solution, Nicholas turned to the DroneDeploy App Market, where he combined DroneDeploy’s mapping capabilities with leading drone app FarmSolutions. “DroneDeploy does a great job of stitching maps, ” says Nicholas of his choice. “And the indexes in FarmSolutions, especially the green intensity, really helps me pick out variances in crops.”

By applying plant health indexes to his aerial maps, Nicholas was able to analyze and track crop health over time through a customizable reporting system within the FarmSolutions app.

In the case of this coffee field, Nicholas was able to initially see the guinea grass just by looking at the orthomosaic map. Using this as an initial reference point, he then consulted FarmSolutions for an in-depth analysis of the field’s heath. The FarmSolutions drone app gives agriculture professionals the ability to do side-by-side index comparisons, as well as analyze and track crop health over time through a customizable reporting system.

In the case of this coffee field, the FarmSolutions report showed the exact acreage and severity of problem areas that needed to be addressed. Thanks to the information Nicholas provided, the grower now has actionable aerial data and can plan to treat only those areas, saving money on herbicide treatment.

“The findings section is really where the aerial analysis pays off.” — Drone Service Provider Nicholas Seymour of the crop health report offered through FarmSolutions.

Another feature Nicholas appreciates about using FarmSolutions in the DroneDeploy App Market? “The speed.” He points out that because growers want answers as soon as possible, he sends over the initial DroneDeploy maps by the end of the day in which he flew the field. By the end of the next business day, he is usually able to send a customized report based on the information he gathers from FarmSolutions.

The speed of both DroneDeploy and FarmSolutions means Nicholas is able to deliver a full package of crop analysis within forty-eight hours. Compare that to the two-week turnaround time for NDVI information gathered with manned aircraft. For most farmers who are considering using drones in agriculture, this number alone makes the decision an easy choice.

FarmSolutions report shows that 1.44 acres of the coffee field are affected by Guinea Grass, helping the grower accurately plan for treatment.

Dronifi Brings Powerful Crop Analysis to the DroneDeploy App Market

As for Dronifi’s choice to become part of the DroneDeploy App Market — as Katharine Rosser of Dronifi puts it, partnering with DroneDeploy was a natural step in the company’s quest to offer leading commercial drone technology at an affordable price point.

“Unifying DroneDeploy’s strength in image processing and Dronifi’s strength in image analysis was a natural collaboration to enhance the commercial drone service provider’s toolbox.” [click to tweet]

Katharine appreciated how straightforward and simple the process of building an app for the App Market was, with DroneDeploy staff offering support and resources along the way. She says that, because of the ease of the entire process, Dronifi plans to continue releasing apps on the DroneDeploy App Market.

When asked why other companies should consider developing drone apps for the marketplace, Katharine points to the booming commercial drone industry.

“As the applications for commercial drone services continue to expand, so will the need for drone software and apps. If you have an idea for an app, DroneDeploy delivers a quick and easy process to get it out to market.” —Katharine Rosser, Dronifi

Where to Learn More

If SRHI Imagery and Aerial Mapping’s experience with the DroneDeploy App Market has peaked your interest, take this chance to learn more about FarmSolutions. If turf health analysis is missing from your drone app toolbox, you’ll want to consider Dronifi’s Turf Solutions.

Get Started with DroneDeploy

Want to learn how DroneDeploy can help your business? Visit www.dronedeploy.com to start your free trial or request a consultation with one of our team members. The DroneDeploy mobile application is available for free download for both iOS and Android devices.

DroneDeploy's Blog

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones. Learn more at www.dronedeploy.com


Written by

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones.

DroneDeploy's Blog

DroneDeploy is the leading cloud software platform for commercial drones. Learn more at www.dronedeploy.com

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade