DRONES are no new technology for the ag sector, but one company is not only offering flight services – but an opportunity for producers to purchase software and hardware models to implement on their properties.
Speaking at the AgTech conference in Emerald was PrecisionHawk manager for Australia and New Zealand operations, Josh Voelker, who has been a licensed pilot since he was just 17.
Mr Voelker holds a commercial UAV pilot’s license and a remote pilots license in Australia is an American and attended Indiana State University where he received a degree in Aviation and Unmanned Systems.
“As a drone pilot I have spent most of time in paddocks around the world servicing the agriculture industry,” he said.
He said feedback at AgTech was very position.
“Growers are starting to see that the drones can offer more than a pretty picture,” he said.
“Having a drone on the farm with the level of analysis that our post processing software (PrecisionMapper) offers is being viewed as a tool that can aid in management decisions.”
He said the obvious benefits to drone technology were well known, but the way drones can complement existing on-the-ground machinery were evolving.
“Once those problems have been identified and ground tested we can monitor the prescription after it has been applied to quantify the success or lack there of,” he said.
“We can also send shape files to variable rate tractors and planes through our integration with MyJohnDeere and other farm management softwares.”
Mr Voelker said the most common use of drones in agriculture is surveying and scouting.
“Our company has taken it one step further in offering different algorithms to aid in decision making,” he said.
“One of the most used in that space is creating an NDVI map of the paddocks that measures crop health and relates that back to a scale of green to red.
“Green being the most healthy and red being dead or no vegetation.
“With that we can create prescription maps for variable rate application of whatever prescription needs to be applied to solve that specific problem.
“We offer packages where growers can purchase their own hardware and software bundled together to have as a tool on their farm.
“We also offer a wide range of consulting and custom algorithm work for the more intricate problems the users may be looking to solve.”
He said the algorithm marketplace through PrecisionHawk is not unlike an app store for drone data.
“We offer a wide range of algorithms from standard NDVI, plant count, canopy cover, weed pressure as well as many more,” he said.
“All can be found on PrecisionMapper.com underneath the algorithms tab.”