Drones For Agriculture Come To The California Almond Farmers

Researchers at California State University, Fresno, are partnering with drone producer AeroVironment to bring high-tech innovations to almond farms.

The California drought is no secret; its impact on agriculture isn’t a secret either. What if growers in that state could reduce water usage without costly innovations or placing increased demands on their staff?

New techniques using high technology to grow almonds.

CSU Fresno is partnering with AeroVironment, a company specializing in unmanned aircraft systems (otherwise known as drones). Their mission is to determine how much water stress can be picked up with aerial imagery.

California Almond Farmers Use Drones
California Almond Farmers Use Drones

As reported by Growing Produce:

“Athanasios Alexandrou is the Professor and Chairman of the Industrial Technology Department at Fresno State’s Jordan College of Agriculture. He said they are reviewing the literature to determine what stress levels they will put on a test orchard. The location that they will be using is on campus. It will be a 35-acre block of ‘Nonpareil,’ ‘Aldrich,’ and ‘Price’ almonds.

Following a predetermined schedule, they will fly the orchard with a drone to collect imagery. Then, there will also be a team on the ground containing moisture levels of both the soils and the leaves. Alexandrou and his team will correlate the data and conclude how much stress can be determined through the air.

‘The long-term goal of this project is collecting and analyzing data to investigate if drones can pick up water stress without the need to do soil or leaf sampling at some point in the future,’ he says.”

Drones For Agriculture Used To Track Water For Farmers

The article’s most noteworthy is the researched commentary that almonds do not use more water than other crops. All food crops need about one liter of water to produce one calorie. However, wholesale almond growers in the state are more visible because they own almost 1 million acres of farmland. Correspondingly, almonds have been getting the most attention from the citizens, media, and interest groups over the past few years. (see Nutritional Benefits of Almonds here)

The program’s ultimate goal is to use drones to create a more efficient watering schedule. The new plan would presumably reduce the days when the crops need to be watered to produce a successful harvest.

In conclusion, to take a look down the road at other technological innovations such as a drone can be used to improve so many areas of our lives and welfare. As Arthur C. Clarke noted, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic.” As a result, we may see more already automated farming technology making its way into our everyday lives. Using these drones for agriculture could lead to similar drones being used for safety and control in several other industries.

Words By Genevieve Malandra

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