Aerial imagery could soon become one of the most valuable tools used on the farm. The precision ag technology allows growers to monitor crop health and take action in troubled areas before it's too late. Images taken from above, whether by satellite or airplane, give a whole new perspective on how fields are performing. Like other precision ag products, aerial imagery programs can save growers a lot of time and effort, while increasing profitability by way of higher yielding crops.
Airplanes equipped with cameras fly over fields and capture images. The quality of the aerial images has a higher resolution than that of satellite imagery, which is typically five meter or greater resolution, and is comparable with UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), even though UAVs are getting all the attention for possible future use.
- Aerial View: Also known as the Red, Green, Blue (RGB) image, is a standard image of the land from the airplane - a real-time aerial photo.
- Near Infra-Red: This image shows the heat and reflectiveness of vegetation in the field. Brighter red areas typically indicate more vegetation, but more heat could also mean weed pressure and not just better crop production.
- Multi-spectral or Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI): This image is a combination of the RGB and Near Infra-Red images. This image shows the field's vegetative vigor or potential health of the crop.
All three of these image types give a different perspective on the crop and can help identify potential limiting factors preventing the crop from producing to its full potential.