• TerrAvion TerrAvion
  • Jun 23
  • 4 min read

Vigor and thermal imagery increase profitability

Proper management of irrigation, nutrients, and pest and disease control can dramatically impact the productivity of a field. Seeing the results of that management is possible in season with frequent high-resolution imagery with vigor and thermal data and can improve crop performance. The quality of image data affects the usefulness and impact it has on improving profitability for all involved in agriculture from farmers to agronomists, service, and input providers.

Performance GIF-original
In this blueberry field, TerrAvion Thermal imagery strongly correlates with the Dynamic Vigor and can predict low vigor areas early on. The Vigor band is the image with green, red, and yellow. The Pansharpened Thermal is the image with yellow, red, and blue.

Both Vigor and Thermal imagery from TerrAvion provides the needed insights and opportunities for agriculture to increase profits and limit loss. The very high-resolution Standard and Dynamic Vigor bands show where the crop is thriving and where it is suffering. This information can help to make better input and other management decisions. The Thermal bands enable irrigation systems and water management optimization, and can show where the plants will show less vigor soon providing further explanation of crop variability identified in NDVI imagery.

Interpreting Vigor/NDVI imagery for agronomy

Timely NDVI Imagery has the potential to improve any agronomy program dramatically. TerrAvion’s high-resolution vigor data provides a detailed illustration of a field’s health through pixels about the size of a human hand. Higher NDVI values indicate higher chlorophyll density and plant biomass, and vice versa. Disease or pest stress, fertility issues, water stress, soil fertility issues, equipment failures, weeds, chemical burns, can cause irregular vigor patterns.

Various NDVI/Vigor patterns that indicate issues in a field that need attention or are proof of various input trials. The green color indicates high vigor plants and the yellow and red areas show low vigor plants.
Various NDVI/Vigor patterns that indicate issues in a field that need attention or are proof of various input trials. The green color indicates high vigor plants and the yellow and red areas show low vigor plants.

How to use NDVI imagery

Vigor imagery is a great tool to manage a field. TerrAvion imagery comes at multiple points during the growing season and typically is captured the day before it is delivered to the customer. It is important to evaluate all image data, including the vigor and thermal data as soon as possible and look for irregular patterns. Lower NDVI values represent a stressed crop, while higher NDVI values represent a more vigorous crop. In the images above, the red color represents low vigor, while the dark green colors represent high vigor plants.

If a field has an uneven pattern, the next step is to determine why it is irregular. Applying agronomic expertise and considering all the things known about the area, such as soil makeup, yield data, crop and disease history, etc is useful knowledge. TerrAvion has an open API and is connected to many agricultural platforms to enable pulling data from various sources. Also other imagery bands, like the Pansharpened Thermal or Synthetic Color, provide additional insights regarding the field. The results can be evident in the image data if you are doing input trails, whether it is seed, pesticides, or nutrients. If there is an unexplained issue, like, for example, disease, ground truthing is a must.

After drawing a conclusion based on all of the information and data available, a management plan should be created to address the issues accordingly.

Interpreting Thermal imagery for agriculture

Moisture is one of the most important parts of raising crops. Too much or too little has a significant impact on plants, and it affects many other aspects, like sustainability or meeting regulations as well. High-resolution thermal imagery is a powerful tool for monitoring any moisture situation in your fields. The TerrAvion Thermal can be used to measure actual temperature in an area. TerrAvion’s high-resolution Pansharpened Thermal provides excellent detail.  Thermal data often shows a high correlation with the Vigor data in a field weeks before it is visible in the Vigor data.

Thermal image data that have irregular colors are an sign of water management issues, like insufficient drainage or faulty irrigation. The yellow and red colors show warm temperatures while the blue and purple colors are cooler.
Thermal image data that have irregular colors are an sign of water management issues, like insufficient drainage or faulty irrigation. The yellow and red colors show warm temperatures while the blue and purple colors are cooler.

 

How to use Thermal Imagery

As soon as imagery starts for the season, it is essential to look at your thermal data even if irrigation has not started yet. It can show whether there are natural cold and warm spots and can be used to get your irrigation system ready for the season. Look for hot spots (yellow/turquoise colors) that indicate areas that are not receiving the intended amount of water. Look for cold spots (blue/purple colors) that indicate leaks, areas that are receiving an excessive amount of water, or areas where drainage systems aren’t functioning correctly. Keep an eye out for other suspicious-looking patterns that may indicate other failures such as water pressure issues. Proper water management helps to raise a profitable crop and making agriculture more sustainable.

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