In today’s Almond Matters, brought to you by Valent, the use of drones during bloom can help make orchard monitoring more efficient. Reducing the amount of time it takes to get a picture of what stage of bloom an entire orchard is in can be especially useful when planning for different types of applications.
“We can travel very far with these systems,” Owner of All Drone Solutions Mark Hull said, “and you’re picking up live, high definition video right to your phone or tablet.”
Along with using drones during bloom, the technology has several other applications depending on the type of drone being used. There are many different types of drones on the market with a wide range of costs, but Hull described the investment in a drone is like the investment in any other farming tool. “These systems can be used for a long time and provide a lot of different value throughout the year from simple marketing photographs, to documenting growth, or maybe some trials that you’re working on,” said Hull.
One of the obstacles to widespread adoption of drone technology among almond growers relates to what to do with the actual data that is obtained by the drone. Hull explained that software products have come a long way in recent years to provide a simple user interface to put all the information to good use. “Photographs are all geotagged, so they have a location in them so they have a time and date stamp of course and then they have a GPS location stamp in the metadata,” said Hull. “Using simple, free software you can see where those images were taken and understand where they belong within a large piece of property.”
Obtaining a clear overview of a growing operation in a short amount of time can be extremely valuable in reducing labor costs related to monitoring. Data collected from drones has also proven to be very effective in yield evaluations and creating data sets for variable-rate applications.
Listen to interview below.