Many of Hummingbird’s clients have used its remoting sensing technology and data analytic capabilities for numerous crop trials across Europe the past few cropping seasons. One of Hummingbird’s clients was particularly interested in evaluating the establishment and growth rate differences when planting chitted versus non chitted potato seed in a split field trial.
Hummingbird then proceeded to provide the client with high resolution UAV drone analytics at specific growth stages throughout the cropping season. This enabled the grower to capture the emergence rates of potato plants within the trials plots – in the first stages providing very accurate plant counting numbers, moving into the evaluation of 50% emergence rates through to full emergence and canopy cover on the plots. These were then tracked throughout the season with both UAV and satellite imagery to monitor the canopy development through to harvest.
The results were staggering. Although the potatoes were all planted on the same day, the non-chitted plots took on average 10 days longer to emerge, and when they did, the plant counts were 54% lower on the plot average values compared to the plots where chitted seed were planted.
Further statistical analysis from Hummingbird’s R&D teams showed that the differences in crop development and performance lasted for an additional 85 days until later in the season, until the canopy coverage was level again in both plots.
This detailed insight and analysis provided the farmer with the statistical analysis metrics they were looking for, with clear results and rationale for their choice in seed going forward.
The imagery (see above) clearly shows the difference in canopy coverage for this trials field, with the right hand side of the image showing the chitted seed, and the left the non-chitted seed. Even without the statistical analysis, one can clearly see the differences in performance, although the analysis provided the grower with qualitative scientific metrics.