What is in this article?:
- Aerial images can identify or confirm a problem and its extent.
- Getting the image is only the first step. The real value comes in specific identification of crop problems by ground-truthing and follow-up plans that make sense economically.
- In most cases, interpretations and opinions from experienced agronomists or crop advisors are helpful in both correctly identifying and solving problems.
Light green lines in a 2012 cornfield show nitrogen deficiency resulting from a malfunctioning manure drag hose, right down to the width of the applicator.
Before you order aerial imagery
Low-resolution images mask crop variability, Panbecker says, but higher resolution images that zero in on small areas cost more. “It’s cost effective to first think through your goals. That will help you decide if you need quick turnaround, and what resolution you need,” he says. He recommends cloud-free images, usually from low altitude flights.
1) Find a supplier that can produce data that makes the photos meaningful agronomically and economically.
2) Ground truth the aerial photos to confirm what you think you see in the photos.
3) Use a supplier who will help develop an action plan based on imagery and ground-truthing to overcome crop problems identified