Small drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used for rapid assessment of crops with high resolution imagery. (Photo credit: Microdrones (www.microdrones.com
Precision farming involves the collection of data by observation and measurement, and the subsequent response. Sensing is key to the collection of data; whether this is remote from space by satellites, by aircraft or drones, or by proximal sensors used on the ground, mounted on vehicles or otherwise. Responses are increasingly automated and data are often integrated into whole-farm management systems.
Early commercial applications were directed towards improving crop nutrition, however, utilising precision technologies to control weeds, pests and diseases is now a reality.
Progress in developing precision farming technologies for crop protection is reviewed in this article, with examples of how various techniques and applications are being researched and applied.
Precision crop protection requires detailed data on the occurrence and distribution of problems at the earliest possible stage of detection. Some of the key aspects are:
- Identification: of crops, targets and beneficial.
- Temporal and spatial distribution: presence of the target before, during and after the crop growth period.
- Sampling techniques: statistically valid sampling regimes must be used to permit an accurate view of any problem.
- Thresholds: under particular circumstances, the point at which action to ensure levels of infestation or damage are kept to those deemed to be acceptable.
- Prediction: the speed and pattern of development of a problem must be capable of being modelled, e.g. spread and severity of insect pests and fungal diseases; weed emergence according to species, dormancy and environmental conditions.
New advances in the field of precision farming are presented.
This is an abstract of the full article published in: Outlooks on Pest Management