GIS for Testing New Crop Varieties
The use of remote sensing and geospatial imaging on the farm may still seem far-fetched to some, but there are other more indirect ways they can be used to benefit farmers. One example is some research going on looking at sorghum to potentially replace corn in some areas. Researchers at St Louis University are using remote sensing to analyze hundreds or even thousands of varieties of sorghum to see how they perform under various conditions.
Sagan… “We are growing hundreds and thousands of varieties of sorghum with the goal of identifying varieties that can thrive in harsh environments under future climate to improve yield and productivity of crops.”
That’s Vasit Sagan, associate professor of GIS science at SLU and faculty director of the Geospatial Institute. He says this is just one example of how this technology can improve agriculture.
Sagan… “Doing that by hand, it's a huge challenge. I mean, you have to measure photosynthesis, you have to measure growth rate, color, nitrogen deficiency, water stress, and just doing it for a single field takes days and months of labor, hard labor, right? So that's why we use sensors and robots in the field.”
Sagan and colleagues at SLU help analyze this information for farmers and other stakeholders.