Submitted to: Outlooks on Pest Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/7/2006
Publication Date: 10/1/2006
Citation: Shaw, D.R., Willers, J.L. 2006. Improving pest management with remote sensing. Outlooks on Pest Management. 17:197-201. Interpretive Summary: For decades interest has existed in remote sensing technologies for assistance in making pest management control decisions. Recent technological advances, especially high-resolution digital imagery, have resulted in a number of new developments for managing a wide diversity of agricultural pests. The spatial information provided by improved sensor systems can be geo-referenced to earth coordinates so that maps can be built that feed information to variable-rate controllers, allowing them to apply spatially variable rates of pesticides. These site-specific pesticide applications can provide considerable savings in costs of control while at the same time reducing the environmental load of pesticides. Adoption has been limited by the relatively high initial investment required, and the intensity of requirements to acquire, process, store, evaluate and communicate very large quantities of spatial information to pest management practioners.
Technical Abstract: Given the sporadic nature of pest occurrence in crop fields, SSPM is a logical approach to dealing with pests, both from environmental and economic perspectives. With the technological advances of the past decade, this is an exciting time for SSPM. Remote sensing is being commercially used in weed detection and insect management, and new applications are under development. The infrastructure is now in place that will create a sustainable business environment for successful SSPM. As new uses of existing technology develop, and as improvements are developed in these technologies, additional momentum will be gained. Discussions are underway about governmental farm programs that could offer incentives for SSPM and other site-specific agricultural management technologies as a Best Management Practice (BMP). This development could be beneficial for SSPM adoption in at least two ways. First, it would reduce the marginal cost of adoption significantly, allowing producers to understand and determine the benefits with less financial risk. Second, it would encourage the development of the industry by providing a brighter prospect for financial investment. With demonstrated reductions in pesticide applications, and concurrently more effective pest management, research certainly supports SSPM as a viable BMP.