Sensors, satellites, biomass maps... precision farming brings together many concepts that are not always easy to prioritize. To understand how we create an application map, let's start with the map and work our way back to data collection.
Three types of maps can be used with SKYFLD to create application maps for fertilization, seeding or crop protection:
- Biomass maps based on vegetation index (NDVI). NDVI is used to assess crop health and vitality. For instance, by identifying weak vegetation zones, farmers can modulate fertilizers according to crop development.
- Yield maps: more and more combines are now able to provide yields maps. These maps allow farmers to identify precisely crop productivity. he collection of yield data using devices such as combines provides information on crop.
- Soil sample maps: show soil properties spatial variations.
These maps can be used alone or in combination to create application maps. For example, you can overlay a biomass map with a soil analysis. There are many ways to get these data.
Remote sensors provide high-resolution images and can be installed on drones. But drone usage is not so easy, you need flight permits, drone pilot's license. This is restrictive and limits drone use.
Satellites provide near-real-time images to assess crop vitality and identify fields variations. Platforms such as SKYFLD process these images into NDVI maps. However, cloud cover is one of the limiting factors for this technology.
Sensors on farm machinery
Optical sensors can be installed on tractors or specific equipment’s (sprayer, seed drill, etc.). For instance, we have N-Sensor from Yara, or CropXplorer from Case IH and New Holland. Real time measurement can be directly used for fertilizers application. However, this solution does not allow several sources of information to be brought together. Sensors cost and installation can also be an acquisition barrier.
Fixed soil sensors
These sensors can measure soil moisture, texture and nutrient content.
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