Drones + software: Allies against soy diseases and pests

The use of drones as an agricultural tool is already a reality in many Brazilian farms, which use these unmanned aerial vehicles to improve productivity in the field.

However, a new technology promises to extend and further improve the use of drones in crop yields. It’s a software that, together with the agricultural monitoring drone, can detect the places of greatest infestation of pests and diseased vegetation in the agricultural crop, mainly soybeans.

This project is already in the testing phase and has been designed by the companies Horus Aircraft and Basf, in association with EMBRAPII (Brazilian Industrial Research and Innovation Company) and Sebrae.

Faster detection of pests and diseases

In general, the fight against weeds and diseases in soybean crops is based on the periodic verification of planting, with subsequent decision making. However, on some occasions, control measures end up being taken late.

The use of drones, together with specific software, makes it possible to solve this problem and provide greater control to pests and diseases, as emphasized by Fabrício Hertz, CEO of Horus Aircraft.

“The drone is the equipment that captures images with high resolution and greater geographic accuracy. The platform is responsible, through intelligent algorithms, for providing information and identifying areas with critical points and infestation of pests and diseases”.

Hertz also explains how this technology works:

“The drones capture a sequence of georeferenced images of the flight plan made in the specific software. After the flight, the producer needs to process his images so that they become a map. This image processing can be done on software or online platforms, such as Mappa Horus”.

In the software or online platform, it will be possible to upload the images, send and receive maps, as well as specific agronomic analyzes of crops, such as:

  • Counting crop individuals;
  • Row identification and planting failures;
  • Identification of pests, diseases and stress;
  • Application of vegetation indices for the analysis of plantation health;
  • Variable rate application maps; and
  • Shape file export. “These shape files can be integrated with the largest tractor brands on the market, "he adds.

Benefits of drones and software for farmers

The technology developed by the aforementioned companies allows the farmer to have at his disposal some very significant benefits, especially when compared to traditional methods or even satellites.

In this context, Hertz says that using drones to map crops brings the following advantages:

  • Time and resource savings;
  • Information speed;
  • Monitoring frequency;
  • Data accuracy;
  • Reliable information
  • In addition to greater safety in field work.

In addition, once the problem is correctly identified, with its exact location, it will no longer be necessary to use herbicides in healthy areas.

Economic benefits of technology

In addition to the benefits described above, the adoption of this technology can also generate very important economic benefits.

According to studies, this technology will allow estimating planting lines and faults, and identifying weeds, increasing productivity by up to 20%. The integration of data obtained from drones with agricultural machinery for the application of supplies can save up to 50%.

Based on this, the CEO of Horus Aircraft explains that this technology generates savings both in the fieldwork process and with maps generated with the drones.

“In the process of field work there will be more agility, requiring only one operator. In addition, knowing what cultivation sections are developing more or less, the farmer can take quick measures to optimize production, with the consequent reduction of losses,” says Hertz.

Based on all this, it can be said that the farmer will have gains in the economy of inputs, reduction of losses and greater productivity, which will result in higher profits at the end of the season.

Finally, this type of technology is intended for producers who want to be more effective in monitoring their areas, however, Hertz explains that potential clients are agronomic consultants and service providers.

"These professionals use this technology to add value to their portfolio, which allows them to provide more accurate and agile information to the producer," he concludes.