Variable rate and spot herbicide treatments offer several benefits to growers. By making targeted herbicide applications instead of blanket applications, growers will save on input cost while also seeing better results. More efficient herbicide usage lessens the negative impact on the environment. Targeted herbicide applications may also help lower the risk of herbicide resistance. Traditionally yield and soil data are used for variable-rate nutrient applications. However, that same data is not very useful when it comes to variable rate herbicide applications. Instead, growers rely heavily on scouting to quantify and map weed infestations in their fields. For this reason, aerial imagery is a perfect solution to map weed infestations for variable rate herbicide applications.
High-resolution aerial imagery helps you identify weed infestations in your fields before you even step foot in them. TerrAvion’s zone creation tool makes it easy to create management zone maps that can be used for variable rate herbicide applications
Identifying weed issues
Weed issues are usually addressed before a field is planted or shortly after the crop has emerged. This makes it easy to identify weeds in natural color and NDVI imagery because you need only distinguish the weeds from bare soil, not from other vegetation. Weeds can often be identified with natural color imagery, but high-resolution NDVI imagery, such as offered by TerrAvion, is the ideal tool for identifying weed issues. High-resolution NDVI provides the detail you need to identify weed issues accurately. TerrAvion's adjustable NDVI color maps allow users to pull out the maximum detail in their imagery, allowing them to see even the smallest of weeds.
The success of imagery guided herbicide applications will depend on the quality of data. The image to the right shows a comparison of satellite and TerrAvion imagery of the same field with a weed infestation. You can see that both natural color images show some weeds. The TerrAvion NDVI image however precisely reveals the exact location and severity of the weeds. The Sentinel satellite imagery on the other hand only reveals a few spots of weeds. Obviously, if a grower were to base a variable rate or spot herbicide treatment off of this satellite imagery, they wouldn't be very successful in eradicating the weeds infestation.
Imagery guided herbicide applications
When growers have their imagery data in hand, the next step is to act on it. Growers can make variable rate, or spot treatment management zone maps to guide their applications. TerrAvion users can make NDVI management zone maps right in the TerrAvion OverView desktop app such as a two-zone map for spot treatment or a variable rate map with up to 6 zones.
The TerrAvion zone creation tool allows users to adjust the range of NDVI values for each zone. Users can customize their management zone maps according to how they intend to address their weed issue. For instance, if a grower decides he wants to treat only weeds that are present most, he can adjust his map to focus on only the most visible weeds. If a grower wants to be a little more liberal in his herbicide use, he can adjust his map to add a buffer area around his weed zones. The success of any imagery guided herbicide application depends not only on the quality of imagery but also on how the management zone map, which is the actual map that will be fed into the onboard controller, correlates to the NDVI image source. TerrAvion provides the data and the tools growers need to run a successful variable rate herbicide application program.
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