Field scouting is an essential part of any agronomy program. Many agronomists visit each field weekly or at a minimum once a month to look for evidence of crop stress, whether from pests, weeds, or irrigation failures, or any other problem. Scouting has some obvious challenges as it is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and issues might go undetected. And it is vital to find problem areas as soon as possible before they affect the yield at the end of the season. So how can you be more effective and efficient?
Remote sensing imagery
Remote sensing imagery is a great way to increase your field scouting effectiveness and efficiency. But your image data needs to have the right bands, a high enough resolution to allow for early detection, and the timeliness to guide your effort. This is where the value of an affordable imagery subscription, like TerrAvion offers, comes in. An high-resolution imagery subscription provides imagery with a resolution of less than 10 cm per pixel regularly during the growing season. Each subscription offers many high-resolution imagery bands, including Thermal and Vigor bands. In particular, these Thermal and Vigor bands allow for early detection as they highlight areas that are performing differently, weeks before that can be seen in RGB data or lower resolution imagery. The TerrAvion imagery will give you a timely bird’s eye view of your fields, making it possible to see which fields need immediate attention without having to scout all.
Agronomic service provider experience
One of TerrAvion’s customers, a large agronomic crop consulting firm that offers scouting as one of their services, relies heavily on subscription aerial imagery to decide where they should scout. In the past, they applied the spot-check or zig-zag method to increase their scouting efficiency. With the timely high-resolution imagery from the subscription, they can see from behind their desk which fields have issues and need to be checked immediately. While many of their growers have access to satellite imagery, the agronomists find little value in it for early detection as by the time a negative impact is visible in the NDVI image of the satellite, it is also evident in the height of the plant on the field and has affected the yield. Therefore, using satellite imagery does not give any early detection advantage to help make scouting more effective.
TerrAvion's Thermal band shows the failure in the irrigation system clearly a week before it is seen in the Vigor band. Early season imagery can help you detect and fix irrigation issues before it is too late.
Since this agronomic services company started to use TerrAvion aerial subscription imagery, they learned that the Vigor band in high-resolution aerial imagery enables them to detect issues two weeks before they can see it in the field. But on top of that, they found that in many cases, TerrAvion’s Thermal shows crop stress four weeks ahead of visual identification in the field. This very early detection with the thermal data makes it possible to make decisions on what to do quickly and fix the issue before there is a negative impact on the yield at the end of the year. And while they are taking advantage of the ROI the aerial imagery subscription brings during the growing season, they are building up year-round knowledge of the field. This allows them to get a head start on next year in choosing what seed to plant, where to implement tile drainage, what irrigation nozzles are necessary, and so on.
Want to learn first hand how our customers find the value in high-resolution aerial imagery? Watch FluroSat's VIRTUAL AGRONOMY 101 webinar here.
Quantify your crop stress
Another advantage of having reliable subscription imagery during the season is that you can quantify the stressed area when it occurs, monitor whether your intervention has been successful or whether the stress is moving spatially or temporally. And all can be done before it even can be detected with satellite data or through field scouting. This enables you to determine whether your actions are bringing actual ROI.
Interested to learn how aerial imagery can make your field scouting more efficient and effective? Complete the form below