How geo-referenced precision soil sampling and multispectral surveying with a drone works
With detailed mapping, problems can also be targeted and addressed much more effectively. In this article, we introduce a new level of precision farming that can detect exactly which areas need to be treated or applied according to which parameters. You can also read about how information gathered by drones can be fed into precision farming machinery.
Precision farming is not just about modern machinery and tools. Rather, it is a process, of which tools using modern and clever technology are of course indispensable. It is always worth starting at the beginning. When we go to the doctor, the first step is also the laboratory, so that the specialist can then look at a more targeted area and provide a specific solution to any problems. This is no different for plants. It’s important that treatment is only ever given where it’s really needed.
With drone mapping, we can effectively analyse the condition of plants or soil. Once the data has been evaluated, we will be able to detect any problems, crop pests and crop homogeneity. We can even detect physiological changes in the plant, row by row or field by field. Based on NDVI images, we can detect different infestations, pests, insect pests and analyse the stress status of the plant. In addition, soil quality analysis can also be used as a tool for planting and planting plans.
With georeferenced precision soil sampling, we can plan targeted nutrient applications, while multispectral plant surveys can improve plant health through targeted treatments based on accurate analysis. The key to both techniques is that sampling is not randomized but takes place at predetermined points, and the drone orthomosaic photo allows diagnosing problems at the herd level. These points are defined according to the actual soil conditions or crop state.
Yuneec H520E drone equipped with multispectral camera
What are the steps involved in georeferenced precision soil sampling or multispectral mapping?
Before going into more detail, let’s look at the main steps in bullet points:
Step 1: drone survey and data processing
Step 2: targeted sampling in the field
Step 3: laboratory testing and analysis
Step 4: preparation of a differentiated material allocation plan and map
Step 5: import shape file into precision machine
Step 1: drone survey and data processing, or surface modeling
In the first phase of georeferenced precision soil sampling, a 3D topographic, surface model is created using a drone-mounted RGB or multispectral camera. This will help us to identify the lower and higher areas of the study site.
Water tends to run off from the higher areas, which may indicate that these areas are certainly subject to soil erosion. While lower-lying areas tend to collect water, which can result in areas of waterlogging. This makes agrotechnological work more difficult and can cause stress to the crop. Problems caused by inland waterlogged areas can be detected at the table level and their severity can be monitored throughout the entire life cycle of the crop.
In multispectral mapping, the same process is used: using a drone and a special camera, we take a picture of the area in a range that is not visible to the human eye. This allows the problem to be identified much earlier. Then the recorded material can be analysed by an expert.
Orthomosaic photo and multispectral image
Step 2: targeted sampling in the field
Once the data have been collected, the inequalities and discrepancies visible in the soil or the parameters relating to the condition of the plants are determined along precise coordinates. On the basis of the information obtained, and in collaboration with the soil expert or phytosanitary expert, targeted sampling is carried out.
Step 3: Laboratory test
In the case of soil sampling, the samples collected by the expert are tested and an extended soil analysis is carried out in the laboratory. While in multispectral mapping, the expertise of the plant physician and, if necessary, the involvement of a laboratory expert can concretise the problem. Based on the results, different management zones and parameters for a differentiated material application plan will be developed.
Step 4: prepare a differentiated material allocation plan and map
The information and results will be used to draw up an accurate application map. For this purpose, distinct management zones with different values will be established, for which different application parameters will be set for efficient and targeted spraying. The management zones can be optimised by successive applications, adapted to the phenology of the crop and the trends of previous applications.
Management zones and their parameters
Step 5: Import the shape file into the precision machine
If you have passed the previous points, you can now create the Shape file. This format contains all the necessary data and can be easily imported into precision machines.
Finally, coordinated and targeted nutrient delivery can begin.
Precision machine in operation
Become a part of the future of precision farming!
Agricultural drones make farming more efficient. More and more people are discovering this. Be one of the first to take advantage of these revolutionary tools and build your farm! Nothing is more proof of the advance of this new technology than the fact that farmers can apply for agricultural drones and software under the planned Precision Machinery tender. The aim is to boost the competitiveness of the arable and horticultural sectors through the use of new, innovative technologies and services. It is expected that between 1500 and 2000 projects will be supported under the HUF 100 billion tender. To find out more about the competition, visit the ABZ Drone website and request a free consultation!