Mapping and Analyzing Crops This Season: Tips and Tricks From the Ag Pros
Understanding Crop Health with On-Demand Drone Data and Analysis
Last week, we hosted the second edition of our ongoing webinar series, “Drones in Agriculture”, featuring ag experts Chad Colby,General Manager at Central Illinois Ag, and Gary Naylor of Gary Naylor Photography. With more than 50 years of combined experience in agriculture, they shared their tips for success with drone mapping. From flying fields to analyzing crop stress, webinar attendees learned a variety of drone mapping best practices for the upcoming season.
Missed the webinar? Watch the full recording here.
A Closer Look at Fieldscanner: Real-time Mapping is Here
Attendees heard about DroneDeploy’s latest real-time crop scouting tool, Fieldscanner, which enables instant in-field crop analysis. Chad highlighted his experience as an alpha tester for Fieldscanner and explained how the new tool can provide the real-time insights necessary to address the fast-paced changes faced throughout the growing season.
“Testing this product, I knew this was a game-changer. Fieldscanner just made a drone the ultimate scouting tool!” — Chad Colby, General Manager at Central Illinois Ag
Having access to timely, accurate information in the field is key to identifying and minimizing the impact of pests, disease, and other crop issues. You no longer have to wait for your aerial data — Fieldscanner maps your field before the drone lands.
Interested in learning more about Fieldscanner? Watch the full recording here.
Understanding Crop Variability and Using Aerial Data to Maximize Yield
Drones are changing the way you can analyze crops. Advances in drone technology have made aerial imagery affordable and accessible — providing you with useful analysis into problem areas. This makes it easy to spot crop variability and identify areas of crop stress, spot pests, and diagnose fertilizer issues.
“We’re just trying to measure variability in the field, and whether that variability is something we can address. That is the bottom line.” — Chad Colby, General Manager at Central Illinois Ag
Chad recommends you “get with your agronomist and make some decisions using the data at hand.” Drone imagery is just part of the equation. To make the right prescription you’re have to ground-truth any findings and take local knowledge and field history into consideration as well. “Local knowledge is important. And I would stress that to everyone,” said Gary.
Drone Maps Help Identify Fertilizer Issues, Determine Nitrogen Application, and Improve Soil Harvest
Gary Naylor joined the webinar from the UK, where he runs a successful photography and agriculture-focused drone service business. Gary works with farmers daily to help them better understand their fields, eliminate pests, and generate prescriptions to increase crop yields. He spent some time highlighting several key case studies that he worked on with farmers over the last year to identify field stress, treating pests and disease, and improving crop health with the use of his aerial maps made with DroneDeploy.
For Gary, a major benefit to using drone-based imagery to analyze crops is that it’s accessible and available when he needs it — unlike satellite imagery he’s used in the past. “With satellite imagery — particularly in the UK — we have a lot of cloud cover, and you might miss that flight,” said Gary. He can fly fields to generate imagery on-demand and go out at his convenience to inspect the fields and ground-truth his findings.
“With drone maps, the good thing is that we can respond quickly. We can go out there and do it at our convenience this evening, tomorrow, or over the weekend.” -Gary Naylor, Owner Gary Naylor Photography
Mapping Best Practices: Altitude, Overlap, and Speed
We frequently hear questions about best practices for flying fields throughout the season. How high should you fly? How much overlap is needed to achieve the best map? How fast should the drone go? In the webinar, Gary and Chad shared their personal tips learned during more than 5000+ drone flights.
“When I am planning my flights, I am thinking about people’s houses and where I don’t want to fly. I am also seeing what the quickest flight is too. It’s about avoiding obstacles and maximizing flight time.” — Gary Naylor, Owner Gary Naylor Photography
Drones are changing agriculture. The insights provided by the average drone and standard camera can prove to be the best investment you make this season. Whether this is your first season using drones, or you’re a seasoned ag flyer, this webinar will have something for you. Watch the full recording now.
Where to Learn More
We recommend you check out some of our other agriculture resources to ensure you’re prepared for analyzing crops with drones this growing season.
- Watch part one of this webinar series, “Lessons from the Field”, to learn from how to get started with drones on the farm
- Read our guide to analyzing crop variance with drones and learn the difference between VARI, NDVI, and false-NDVI plant health formulas
- Map your fields instantly with Fieldscanner to quickly identify crop stress and stomp out problem areas before they spread
- Read Agriculture Onboarding for DroneDeploy in our support documentation