Cultivation/Production, Equipment/Technology, Research, Trends

Canada: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) coming to a potato field near you

A&L Canada Laboratories of London, Ont. has developed and equipped the first-of-its kind drone with the sensors, equipment, and software that will let farmers easily collect and interpret meaningful data related to yield determination, disease detection and more. Photo: A&L Canada Laboratories Inc.Though unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are just beginning to buzz over Canadian crop fields, experts agree these new ‘eyes in the sky’ are about to fundamentally change how potato farmers see, interact with and manage their crops. Agriculture is on the cusp of a game-changing leap forward in technology. Currently, most agricultural unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used for the technologically simple task of remote digital photography. But, government and private-sector scientists alike are proving UAVs can do much, much more for Canadian farming. For the past four years, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers Anne Smith and Bernie Zebarth, with support from Potatoes New Brunswick and McCain Foods (Canada), have worked to build yield maps of potato fields in New Brunswick. These maps are intended to identify parts of the field that need to be managed differently, or problem spots that require intervention to solve yield limitations. Meanwhile, researchers at A&L Canada Laboratories in London, Ont., are building algorithms that go a big step beyond remote yield analysis. Their UAV-powered technology is designed not only to find yield decreases, but to conclusively determine what disease or deficiency is causing that loss. More

Editor & Publisher: Lukie Pieterse


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