Drone Monitoring for Organic Farming Success

Drone Monitoring for Organic Farming Success

including organic farmers, are turning to drones as an efficient means of gaining different data-collection services.
Drones are gaining ground in agriculture, including and particularly organic agriculture, because they offer considerable advances in the ability to plan and strategize. One of the key services drones provide is soil and field analysis ( https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601935/six-ways-drones-are-revolutionizing-agriculture/ ), which is particularly useful for planning seed planting patterns, irrigation, and nitrogen-level management.  
Other services administered by drones include ( https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601935/six-ways-drones-are-revolutionizing-agriculture/ ) planting, crop monitoring, health assessment, and, at least for conventional agriculture, spraying. Drone-based planting systems, which shoot packets of seeds and nutrients into the ground, are far more efficient and save a great deal of time and expense.
Drone monitoring companies like Lithuania-based Ekoagros ( https://www.vz.lt/agroverslas/augalininkyste/2018/10/08/ekologinius-ukius-tikrintojai-stebes-dronais ) are helping organic growers to get a better picture of the health and productivity of their fields. This allows them to help farmers certify their land as ecologically friendly.
The key way in which Ekoagros and other drone monitoring companies collect data has to do with monitoring near-infrared (NIR) light ( https://agribotix.com/whitepapers/farmers-need-know-agricultural-drones/ ). Photons emitting in the near-infrared part of the spectrum bring heat but not enough energy for a plant to carry out photosynthesis, so plants have evolved the ability to simply reflect this form of light instead.   
By monitoring the differences between NIR and visible light, drones can produce a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), which shows areas of dense and sparse growth.
This method is particularly useful for helping organic growers to ascertain when a field has become too overgrown with weeds, a common problem in organic agriculture. The usual solution is to wait until the problem has become severe enough, and then spray conventional herbicide and wait a few years before returning the field to organic production.
With drone monitoring ( https://droneapps.co/case-study-drone-precision-farming/ ), however, organic growers can obtain better data about precisely when a weed problem has grown large enough to warrant taking acreage out of organic production. This allows organic growers to maximize their organic yields by getting more organic production out of a field.
Understanding how plants are growing in a field can also help a farmer to understand ( https://agribotix.com/whitepapers/farmers-need-know-agricultural-drones/ ) when and where to deliver more water or nutrients. Fields are anything but uniform: they have differing drainage, and soil quality will be subject to variance even with modern tillage and fertilization methods. Drones can help farmers see where they need to focus resources.
Ekoagros is using this and other techniques to inspect ( https://www.vz.lt/agroverslas/augalininkyste/2018/10/08/ekologinius-ukius-tikrintojai-stebes-dronais ) vast acreage in order to confirm that farmers are cultivating in a way that is ecologically friendly and detect violations of organic protocols. Drones allow the Lithuania-based organic certifier to inspect a much larger area of acreage than it could ever manage otherwise.
Accredited for organic certification ( https://www.ekoagros.lt/en/certification-in-non-eu-countries ) in the EU and in the United States, Ekoagros stays busy monitoring fields on both sides of the Atlantic.

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