VIDEO: Emmetts expands into UAV imagery services

By: Carene Chong, Video by: Andrew Britten

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Leading John Deere dealership Emmetts has teamed up with US-based UAV expert Agribotix to offer aerial imagery services to farmers in the Wimmera Mallee region.

TradeFarmMachinery.com.au recently caught up with the company at the 2015 Wimmera Machinery Field Days to find out more about its latest offering.

Emmetts’ fleet of Agribotix Hornet drones is capable of capturing true colour (RGB) and Near Infrared (NIR) imagery at a 3cm ground resolution to provide a detailed view of the field from above.

Emmetts integrated solutions manager Matthew Burns says the service has been brought in for the upcoming season.

"It’s not so much about the service but the data integration, in that we can integrate the data with our customers’ harvest and yield data to help them with their decision-making," he says.

Compared to using satellite imagery for analysis, Burns says using drones presents more benefits such as less waiting time and better accuracy.

"If there’re any cloud covers, you lose that capture so you have to wait up to 16 days for that to come back across," Burns says.

"We do have some weather conditions that can cause us dramas but we can go out, capture the data and deliver within 48 hours."

Imagery collected by the infrared camera is used to measure relative vegetation health within field.

Users can then combine the real-time information with historical field data to generate prescription maps as well as carry out crop inspections, crop damage assessments and yield estimations.

Emmetts IT Manager Paul Wynne has recently obtained a pilot license and operator’s certificate to fly the UAVs on a commercial scale.

"Flight time for a UAV is approximately one hour, and depending on weather conditions we believe we can cover 200 to 300 hectares in a flight," Wynne explains.

"It’s fully automated, we pre-plan the flight the day before and it will fly according to its flight plan."

Find out more about Emmetts' drone imagery services on Emmetts' website.

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