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Drone technology used to help farmers identify land in need of more water

Using drone photography and analysis, AgriDrone can count plants in the scanned area, generate a report where the number of counted plants is compared to the recommended set and other details where applicable

12 September 2017, 12:58pm
The use of drones has helped farmers identify water shortages by taking aerial photos that show areas of cultivated fields that require watering, thus enabling growers to speedily take action.

AgriDrone, owned by Island Publications Ltd, has stepped in at a time where less rain is affecting local produce. Only recently, Malta’s main wine growers were warning of the dire circumstances they face because of the lack of rain and the longer heatwaves.

Rain in the Maltese islands falls mainly during winter and with a few harsh storms in late summer, and is inconsistent.

“The overall situation is not expected to improve; farmers and agriculturalists must adapt and make use of the latest technology available to ensure that their crops survive, grow and provide a healthy return on investment,” IPL managing director Terence Mirabelli said.

According to the company, AgriDrone has the capability of providing accurate information and early insights into sowing quality and plant growth for seasonal crops, as well as the ability to accurately manage and keep track of plant count in perennial plantations.

Using drone photography and analysis, AgriDrone can count plants in the scanned area, generate a report where the number of counted plants is compared to the recommended set and other details where applicable.

Besides counting, AgriDrone provides reports on plant health such as weed and pest detection, plant disease analysis and water stress. Data provided is precise and easy to use, helping farmers make quick and in-season course corrections to maximise crop efficiency.

AgriDrone can supply seven types of analyses which can be used to gain accurate and reliable information about plant counting or plant health monitoring: plant population, stand count, weed analysis, pest analysis, water stress analysis, plant disease analysis and plant stress analysis.

“All that is required is to fly over a designated area at regular intervals and photograph the fields. The aerial photographs are then analysed and sent to the farmer or grower. It’s simple and effective,” Mirabelli said, adding that it usually takes up to 48 hours for the photos to be taken and analysed.

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