Scouting Winter Wheat With a UAS (Drone) “The Results”

A few days ago I posted about Scouting our field Winter Wheat that may or may not make it to harvest due to the extreme winter we had this past season.   It can be viewed by clicking here: Scouting Winter Wheat with a UAS (Drone).  To quickly recap, we have two wheat fields on our farm.  One sits up on some higher ground and looks fairly good, while this field is on some lower lying and “tighter” soils.  This field  is usually wetter and requires a bit more attention annually than our other fields do.  So this past Sunday I went out to check out how that field was doing, but the field was too muddy to be conventionally scouted  by foot or ATV.

Healthy Winter Wheat Growing in our field

Healthy Winter Wheat beginning to grow in our field after one of the harshest winters on record

With limited Scouting options at this point, I thought this would be a great opportunity to bring out our latest Crop Scouting tool and put it to good use.  Having purchased this new tool during this fierce winter, the opportunity to use it to its full ability hasn’t presented itself to date, until now.

Our latest and most advanced crop scouting tool to date, a DJI Phantom 2 with a gopro camera and more

Our latest and most advanced crop scouting tool to date, a DJI Phantom 2 with a GoPro camera and additional options to crop scout more efficiently.

With the Phantom 2, I was able to fly over my field in minutes, and learn exactly what was going on, from a whole different perspective, all without stepping foot into it.

This picture shows the wetter (darker) and drier (lighter colored) spots in the field.  Generally, Wheat prefers drier soils.

This picture shows the wetter (darker) and drier (lighter colored) spots in the field. Generally, Wheat prefers drier soils.

Within minutes of flying the field, which only took 10 minutes of flight time, I was able to see the wetter areas in the field where the wheat could have potentially been drowned out by thawing snow and falling spring rains as well as see where some of the greenest areas are in the field.  (at the Wheat’s current height, it is hard to see)

I flew twice that day.  The first time I flew around 350′ high, (a UAS is legal to fly to 400′ high) to determine the extent of potential water damage to the wheat, and then a second time at a much lower altitude to determine how much new green growth there was.

Click on the picture or the link below to watch the video of Scouting with the UAS over the field.  

Scouting Winter Wheat Video

Snapshot 4 (4-9-2014 12-30 PM)

The video explains much of what my concerns are and what I learned from the images the UAS took.

After the results were downloaded and analyzed, I have determined that this field is indeed under a lot of stress, but with the warmer weather coming, I remain hopeful.  I plan on going back to fly over it again in a week to ten days and reevaluate the field.  At that point, we will either decide to keep the field as is or terminate it and plant corn directly into it.

Check back in a week to see what we decide to do!

 

Thank you and God Bless,

Matt Boucher

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