Advanced Crop Health Mapping
Data You Can Use
Plants talk. Do you know what they’re telling you? Want to detect issues weeks before you can see them?
It’s possible, even if you aren't a plant whisperer. Using thermal mapping, our customers can detect plant issues often 1-2 weeks sooner than any NDVI (Vigor) map will show it. How? Plants use sunlight (through that handy science textbook topic, photosynthesis) to grow and maintain health. But what happens when that plant is stressed or diseased? The answer is simple, less sunlight is being used, and is, therefore, reflected back. NDVI uses RGB (Red, Green & Blue) to analyze the plant, based off the plants color and reflectance. Our thermal and infrared analysis, however, detects how much light the plant is actually using and reflecting, giving you the edge when it comes to detecting issues.
When it comes to using your data, we have you covered. With direct integrations to SMS, Field View, MyJD, SST, and more, you have peace of mind knowing your data will sync with your application data. As an additional feature, we include our free app (Android and Apple) so that you can view your aerial maps both online and offline, giving you the freedom to scout your fields with more precision.
So, how does this all work? Let's take a look at each layer of our data below, just after Nitrogen was applied via Y-Drops.
Looking at this Infrared map, we can see the upper-right corner has less reflectance, because of the added stress. But also notice the variation across the field. It’s more noticeable in this map than in the real view map, since we are seeing the actual plant uptake of sunlight. This could be caused by several things, such as: disease, lack of water, pests, compaction, nutrient or chemical compilation, or weather damage.
Using this data, we can make agronomic decisions more quickly and accurately than we could have from only the real view map above or the NDVI map shown below. Using your online dashboard (which is supplied free to all users), you can create zones based off this map (or the Thermal) for easy export to your equipment for spraying or nutrient applications, giving operation near real-time management decision tools.
This Vigor (NDVI) map is what most companies supply their customers with after a flight. While this map provides good data, it only shows what we can see, not true plant health. We’ve already noticed several issues with this field in the previous maps, but if we look at only this map, the field looks better than it really is.
A lot of growers are using this map as a reference to aid with post-harvest marketing, analyzing which areas have the least amount of stress and the highest potential for yield. Growers can base their VR application off of this map (or the infrared), if desired, from within the dashboard each customer is supplied with.
Let’s start with this real view map of a corn field in early June, just after Nitrogen was applied via Y-Drops. Right off, we notice some color change in the upper-right corner, where the sprayer ran out of product just after planting and was not able to spray for about 10 days, due to rainfall. This caused stress on the corn crop early in its life, which clearly shows in this image. We can also see some stress where we know the soil is thinner.
We can also see a fair amount of plant variation across the fields due to soil conditions.
Here is the Thermal map, which can look quite confusing. We supply a chart showing you the values, and you can even move your mouse over the map to see the exact temperature of the soil or plants. This data is very useful in determining plant health, since a warmer plant will be more stressed.
This data is also very helpful in deciding when to irrigate or when to apply certain products, based on plant health. Thermal mapping can also reveal issues with weed pressure or with disease. In the event that an area of the field becomes diseased but is still taking in normal sunlight (stem rot for example), this map would pinpoint the issue.