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Drone imagery focus of Extension bulletin

Jevtic/Getty Images aerial view of fields scanned by thermal camera
MAXIMIZING AERIAL IMAGERY: A new publication from Oregon State University offers information on maximizing unmanned aerial system imagery.
Oregon State University publication centers on unmanned aerial systems in the state, but much of the information is applicable to Western farms.

Aerial imagery from unmanned aerial systems, or drones, has been rising in popularity. The price of these tools let farmers, or crop scouts, maximize their fieldwork by helping identify trouble spots and target in-season efforts. But what’s the right approach for your farm? As winter nears, studying the potential use of these tools on your operation may be time well spent.

Oregon State University has published a new UAS bulletin and offers a guide to finding the right system for an Oregon farm. For anyone in the West, the tips offered provide some insight on how best to deploy these airships on the farm.

The bulletin lays out four areas of consideration when looking at deploying an unmanned aerial vehicle on the farm.

First, define the goal for use of the system on your farm. What do you want to accomplish with an aerial system scouting program? A key step, according to the authors, is do identify the farm problems you have and how the tech can address those issues. The bulletin offers a look at specific farm problems, and then lays out specific tools to use in a simple-to-read table format.

Second, the bulletin offers advice on the type of airship you want to consider for your farm. Quadcopters are a preferred option, given their ability to take off vertically and are easy to fly. There is also software for those airships that can plot flight plans. Fixed-wing airships require takeoff and landing areas (in some cases) and can be more difficult to pilot than quadcopters but offer longer flight times for data gathering.

The bulletin digs into the differences in these airships offering the reader useful information on making the right choice for the farm. The authors also share information on the types of cameras available and the opportunities offered for image analysis software

Third, consider the licensing requirements for operating an airship. The bulletin outlines what defines a “commercial operator,” which is a key consideration when looking at using a drone. The key is to look at the Part 107 rules, which may require certification. The bulletin shares resources farmers can use to get certified.

Finally, the bulletin reminds readers that if they have a drone, it must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration for use.

The bulletin was written by Kristine Buckland, Extension specialist, vegetable and specialty seed crops; Ann Rasmussen, faculty research assistant, vegetable and specialty seed crops; and Lloyd Nackley, assistant professor, nursery crops research faculty.

You can download the bulletin for free just visit

Source: Oregon State University. The source is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.


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