When to use your drone

Timeline

Time-line

Here you'll find a seasonal timeline of some of the best applications for a drone system on the farm. This applies mainly to Cereal and OSR crops, but could be adapted to others easily.

Early season

Stale Seedbed

1. Lightly cultivate and allow weeds to grow through.
2. Map for weeds before killing them off.
These maps can be used to estimate where weeds may reappear through the season.

Tip - Mapping green growth in stubble will easily show with a normal RGB camera

NEXT

Early season

Pre Planting

1. Map your land while it's bare (before planting).
2. Generate a terrain model.
This can be used as a decision layer for vari-rate seeding, a base layer for crop-height, for auto-steer efficiency/traffic management and for terrain-aware flight plans.

Tip - A NIR sensor can also show different soil types/moisture levels

NEXT

Early season

After Planting

1. Fly low(ish) and map establishment/population.
2. Export data where mis-plants are detected - for insurance/re-plants.
Use GAI (Green Area Index) maps for OSR vari-N application in Spring. Use this as a decision layer for next years vari-rate seeding plans.

Tip - High resolution RGB is better than NIR/Multispectral here

NEXT

Wintertime

Take a Break

Not much happens in winter... plus it's far too cold/wet/miserable to be outside flying a drone anyway...
Spring is on the way though and crops will start to grow and change fast... so be ready!

In Spring an NIR sensor will give you benefits, consider upgrading

March-June

Scouting

1. Map regularly and/or Use Skippy to Scout your Crops
2. Identify areas of poor health or anomalies you may not know about.
You will find early signs of disease, drought or weeds starting to emerge.

Tip - An NIR based sensor will show up problems earlier than a normal camera
Tip - Use disease risk prediction services, if risk is medium-high, map to get early warning

NEXT

March-May

Nitrogen

1. Map to identify areas of dead ground and low to high nutrient content/requirement.
2. Ground truth and zone into areas that require nothing, less or more than your base rate.
This will save you money on nitrogen, and give you more even crops.

Tip - A simple 3 or 4 zone map will help on OSR, even with manual adjustment of application
Tip - If you have access to the RedEdge band (NDRE or CCCI indexes), use it - it's the best for Chlorophyll/nutrient estimation, although RGB based GAI is good for OSR.

NEXT

Mid to Late Season

Yield and Weeds

1. Map canopy cover and/or cropheight to get an idea of biomass and potential yield.
2. Map problem weed areas and use maps as control layers for next season.

Tip - Yield prediction isn't that amazingly accurate from just canopy cover...
Tip - Crop height is a powerful tool for yield, but you'll need an elevation map from early season to calculate it

NEXT

Harvest

You're probably a bit busy...if not, make a pretty harvest video!

Learn how to do all of the above...
(and get CPD points)