Inagro plan drone flights for 2020 crop experiments

22 June 2020 by Admin

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INNO-VEG project partner Inagro has been finalising plans for this season’s field experiments in Belgium. Inagro will use drone mounted sensors to collect multispectral images from experiments on carrots, leeks, spinach and potatoes. The project team hope to be able to use the drone sensor data as an indicator of crop yield and quality, and to assess treatment differences in the field experiments.

Last month (May), the project researchers and drone pilots met at Inagro to finalise plans for drone data collection.  Inagro work with a team of experienced drone pilots and it was important to agree a common approach for the drone flights and data collection.  

The researchers and pilots discussed good practice for drone data collection including ground control points and field calibration of the multispectral sensor. The pilots also agreed to include a drone turn after each flight line to keep the sensor at the right angle. The pilots reviewed and tested the flight settings in the field.

New for the Belgium crop experiments this year is the capability to record data using two sensors at the same time (multispectral and RGB). The multispectral sensor used records data from ten spectral bands, which allows the researchers to determine the optimal bandwidth combinations for use in field vegetable and potato experiments.

Inagro researcher Eva Ampe said “The data from the multispectral cameras allows us to observe differences in crop growth. Our aim is to develop a methodology to use this data to measure the effect of different treatments on final crop yield and quality of open field vegetables and potatoes. Inagro will use what was learnt and agreed upon during this drone pilot meeting in the field when collecting data from the experiments on carrots, leeks, spinach and potatoes”

The INNO-VEG project will produce a ‘Protocol’ for using crop sensing data in field experiments which will include good practice guidance on drone sensor operation. This ‘Protocol’ will be available to download from the INNO-VEG website later this year