Drones for Crop Scouting
With high labor costs, will more farmers turn to drones for help with crop scouting? Dr.Yiannis Ampatzidis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at University of Florida. He is developing tools to both detect and classify various types of crop stress.
Ampatzidis… “And using drones, we can identify hotspots that we can even go and do a secondary inspection. And if we prove the system is accurate, then it will be a great solution to minimize scouting cost. Scouting is very labor intensive, and sometimes it can be very expensive. And it's very difficult in a lot of cases (because) diseases produce similar symptoms. That's why early detection is the critical step here.”
But he says, detection is only the first step.
Ampatzidis… “And this is where AI and different and other classification methods come on to help us classify,not only detect, but also classify the disorder. It can be an abiotic disorder, for example, it can be water stress or nutrient stress. Or it can be like a disease, a virus or bacteria.”
Ampatzidis has seen promising results with problems such as bacterial spot in tomatoes and powdery mildew in squash.