University of California Water Management Specialist Emeritus Dr. David Goldhamer says the only thing keeping remote sensing technology from being used more widely in pistachios is the challenge to get high elevation imagery on a regular basis. He says the difficult part of taking that imagery and converting it into a stress index has been mapped out for pistachios, and once there’s a feasible way for growers to get imagery on a regular basis, the practice could become an option for some growers.
Goldhamer says early recommendations are that weekly monitoring should be sufficient, but the future of remote imagery will be defined by another technology. He believes that drones will ultimately be the answer to the image frequency challenge. Current guidelines limit drone use to a certain elevation and Goldhamer says it would take a long time to map a large orchard from that height.