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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Remote Sensing Crop Biomass Using Radio Controlled Model Aircraft

Authors
item Hunt, Earle
item Cavigelli, Michel
item Daughtry, Craig
item Walthall, Charles

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2003
Publication Date: November 3, 2003
Citation: Hunt, E.R., Cavigelli, M.A., Daughtry, C.L., Walthall, C.L. 2003. Remote sensing crop biomass using radio controlled model aircraft [abstract]. American Society of Agronomy Annual Meetings Abstracts [CDROM]. A03hunt827278-Poster.

Technical Abstract: Radio controlled model aircraft may provide an inexpensive method for acquiring high-spatial resolution images for monitoring agricultural production. The data do not have the quality of commercially-acquired imagery from either aircraft or satellite, but may have a higher benefit to cost ratio. We attached a 4 megapixel Olympus D-40 digital camera on the fuselage of a fixed-wing radio controlled model aircraft (RCMA) and overflew fields of corn, soybeans and alfalfa. We flew at an altitude of about 200 meters above ground level, to get most of the field in one picture. The digital numbers of the images reproduced the spectrum of calibration targets, so the digital numbers were related to reflectance. The band ratio of green to red was linearly correlated to biomass at low levels of biomass, and the ratio saturated at large levels of biomass, which is commonly found in remote sensing. Low levels of applied nitrogen to corn were detectable primarily because of low biomass/plant cover. Because of the rapid turn around time, the ability to get useful data with cloud cover, and high spatial resolution, RCMA acquired imagery may have an important role for precision agriculture.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014