Location & Crops
  • Harehope Farm
  • OSR
  • Wheat
  • Barley
Drones & Sensors
  • DJI Mavic Pro
  • RGB Camera
Software & Indexes
  • Dronedeploy
  • Pix4D Fields
  • VARI and Terrain
Farm Machinery
  • Vaderstad Rapid 4m

Mapping Establishment and Terrain to improve Vari-Rate Seeding

We use vari rate seeding over the farm based on soil conductivity maps that are produced from SOYL. We map establishment and terrain on the farm using drones to further increase the effectiveness of varying the rate.

Areas that aren’t establishing very well need to be adapted on the seed rate map and this is done based on the previous year’s drone establishment maps along with yield and terrain data.

We map establishment and terrain with standard, off-the-shelf drones (DJI Mavic series), you don’t need expensive near infrared (NIR) cameras for this and it makes this task quick and easy to accomplish.



Fly and Map

We tend to fly relatively low (approximately 70m) when mapping for establishment so that we get high-resolution images.

Process Data

We process the data in either Dronedeploy or Pix4D Fields, both provide the VARI index that shows where there is more/less growth, and terrain maps.

Analyse & Ground Truth

Once we have the maps, we can start to look at how well the vari-rate seeding has worked. We can then look at terrain and ground truth to learn why it has not worked so well in some areas.

Apply what we learn

We then export the VARI establishment maps and terrain maps as layers that we can import into Gatekeeper, these are then used alongside Soil and Yield maps to improve our vari-rate seeding the following year.

Establishment vs Terrain


Terrain maps can help us determine why certain areas of the crop aren’t establishing as well as others. We tend to find that the higher points in the field don’t establish as well and this can be down to either soil type or moisture retention, as most of the water slowly makes its way to the lower points in the field.

You can also see quite clearly the areas on the example map that have been double-seeded around the headland.

Note: In the example field here, you will notice we have a tree-shadow issue, this is common at this time of year, with the sun being low in the sky. You can see how the VARI index shows shadows as very green. Ground truthing helps to mitigate these errors.

Download example data:
Dronedeploy Map

View Heather Riggs field map with ground truth points.

PDF Report

View a basic ground truth report.

Access Export Examples

Download output examples from Pix4D Fields.

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