Crop health mapping, infrastructure mapping, soil mapping and water flow mapping
Queensland Drones works with farmers, agronomists, seed suppliers, rural stores, crop consultants, grower groups and agriculture departments to help improve farm outcomes through application of precision agriculture techniques. We have been at the forefront of development of innovative and economically viable agricultural drone services.
The uptake of drone data for use by farmers has been slower than anticipated, largely because drone suppliers and some drone services providers have over-promised and under-delivered. This has led to a loss in confidence as to what drones can really do to enhance farm management and reduce costs. This has been particularly true in NDVI crop health mapping where poor data collection has discredited what is an otherwise extremely valuable source of crop information.
Despite these setbacks, more than 33% of farmers are now using drones or drone service providers to get better, faster and more accurate data about their fields and crops, and a further 31% have indicated they intend to start using drones within the next 12 months. So if you’re not using drones by the end of this year, you will be in a minority and potentially less competitive than your neighbours.
The most cost-effective and valuable applications we have developed so far for drones in agriculture include:
- using NDVI combined with EM soil mapping data to detect crop health issues
- accurate infrastructure maps for allocating fields, planning crops and access tracks
- precision field contour data for levelling and irrigation/fertigation planning
- precision water flow and water accumulation mapping for drainage and dam planning
- comparative strip health mapping for seed trials, mulch trials and micro-nutrient trials
- plant counting for validation of day labour and contractor planting costs
- rapid mapping of the extents of pest and disease invasions into crops
- checking and testing the effectiveness of large area irrigators (e.g. detecting blocked nozzles)
- species identification and mapping for vegetation clearance permits and environmental assessments
Queensland Drones is not just limited to data collected by drones. We also operate ground-based soil analysis tools to provide electromagnetic (EM) soil characteristics mapping which, when combined with zonal soil sampling and testing, provides one the most accurate and versatile field and crop planning tools currently available.
In trials conducted with Growcom, the University of Queensland and the Queensland Department of Agriculture, we have found that good quality EM soil zone mapping is a strong predictor of crop health and a valuable indicator of soil nutrition and fertilisation effectiveness. We can provide soil mapping data in SHP format for direct importing into GPS-controlled farming equipment, for automated application of nutrients and fertilisers.
In many cases, our EM soil mapping can be conducted with crops in place, with minimal risk of crop damage.
Water flow mapping is a valuable tool for planning drainage lines, locations of dams and managing soil loss through erosion during storm events. We can provide detailed and accurate water flow models for a field or for your entire farm.
To find out more, give us a call on 0439 383202 or simply complete our online enquiry form and we’ll get in touch with you.
Bought a drone and can’t do a thing with it?
We’re hearing from a lot of farmers and growers who’ve been sold drones on the basis that they’ll be able to do all kinds of things (like those described above), but when they get the drone back to the farm they find it doesn’t help all that much.
Drones by themselves won’t really help solve farm challenges. It’s the expertise developed over years of providing on-farm services in partnerships with experts that helps organisations like ours to provide effective and highly targeted farm services using drones.
But some of our clients are too far away for us to be able to visit as often as we’d like, so Queensland Drones has developed some drone training and support services we can provide to our farmers and growers who have their own drones.
If you have a drone and would like to know how to make better use of it on your farm, call Tony on 0439 383202, send an email to [email protected] or complete and enquiry form on our Contact Us page and we’ll give you a call to discuss how we can help.