Aerial Photography: An Invaluble Farm Management Tool

As a grower, you need every available resource you can muster to continue producing healthy crops and abundant harvests. That is why increasing numbers of farmers are accessing an invaluable tool to help them manage their productivity—aerial farm photography. Discover some of the many ways this technology can be used and decide if it can help you increase your efficiency and achieve greater crop yields. Aerial photography can be implemented to:

Gain A Clear Picture Of The Entire Farm

Making the right decision is often the difference between making a profit and just scraping by. Deciding on paddock layout and the location of fire-breaks, yards, water points and farm tracks all need careful consideration.

Aerial analysis of the complete farm right down the smallest detail provides an accurate picture of each parcel of land. The imagery allows the particular characteristics to be compared and the viability of each location to be assessed for productivity potential. This planning can allow growers to maximise the harvest output from the entire farm.

Troubleshoot Problem Areas

Aerial photography can be a significant key in managing the crop cycle for maximum efficiency. Adding the correct inputs—extra nutrients, fertilizers, water and insecticides—at the right time and in the right spots contributes a substantial benefit to the crop cycle as a whole. So much money is spent by farmers in applying these inputs and improvements, but unfortunately much of it is wasted when the efforts are not applied precisely where they are needed.

Utilising the available aerial technology allows farmers to spot potential problems before they arise and apply chemicals with precision. This results in the reduced use of pesticides, as only the smallest amount is needed and it is used only where required, thus saving money and the environment.

Having the complete overview from above can provide essential information about:

  • The growth rate, health and vigour of crops
  • Pests and infestations
  • Effects of additional soil nutrients
  • Effects of water management techniques and soil moisture content

Aerial Photography Basics

You would have to study aerial photography extensively to fully understand the ways how this technology intersects with the health of vegetation; however, the basic principles can be easily digested.

Colour distinction allows the detection of plant health in the images from infrared photography. For example:

  • The leaves of healthy plants will reflect a high level of near-infra red wavelengths and display as red on infrared colour film.
  • Unhealthy specimens appear as a lighter shade of red or a blue-green if in particularly poor health.
  • Water, rather than reflecting infra red wavelengths, absorbs them and appears black in images.

Cameras on-board an aircraft are able to take both regular and infrared images. From the infrared images, your service provider can created normalized difference vegetation index images.

A Marketing Advantage

Besides the obvious planning and management decision making advantages of aerial photography, there is another lesser recognised potential benefit: a farmer is able to market their produce with a very effective promotional tool. The use of such precise crop management can be a selling point. Showing the use of high-tech farming where there is reduced reliance on chemicals and water can be something that is very appealing to consumers.

Whether you grow tomatoes, grapes, wheat, soybeans or livestock, an aerial view is an undeniable advantage. Today's farming requires the use of increasingly more efficient techniques and environmentally sound management practices. Arranging an aerial photography service need not be as expensive as you may think. There are a wide range of services to choose from and starting with a simple aerial survey map could be the perfect starting point. For more information, contact a company like 3D Mapping Solutions.