Swiss drone manufacturer, senseFly, has optimized its eBee Ag drone solution, adding new software that makes it easy for agricultural professionals to capture high-resolution photos of their fields, analyze crop health and create accurate prescriptions to load into their precision farming equipment.

The eBee Ag now runs a new version of senseFly’s Postflight Terra 3D data processing software (v3.4). This program enables farmers, crop consultants and agronomists to transform the eBee Ag’s images into quick NDVI maps, geo-referenced index maps and exportable application maps.

These output prescriptions are compatible with leading precision farming software and equipment, plus with the eBee Ag a user’s business data remains confidential.

The drone to tractor workflow explained:

1. Fly the drone
After generating a flight plan with the drone’s supplied eMotion software, the user throws the eBee Ag into the air to launch it on its flight. The UAV then flies, acquires high-resolution images and lands automatically.

2. Create a quick NDVI map
Once the drone has landed, Postflight Terra 3D is used to create a geo-accurate NDVI map of the field. This map can be opened on any GPS-enabled device to guide the user’s manual crop scouting, walking the field, making observations and possibly collecting samples in order to identify and quantify problem areas.

3. Process & create a reflectance map
Back at the office, after fully processing the flight’s images, Postflight Terra 3D is used to create a more detailed reflectance map of the crop. The user then applies his/her preferred vegetation index (NDVI, SAVI, MSR etc.) to further analyse the crop’s health.

4. Define application amounts
With an accurate index map to hand, plus the user’s ground observations and any relevant test results, it’s time to create a custom prescription. This might refer to how many pounds/kilos of fertiliser, pesticide, or herbicide should be applied to a particular classified zone, or even the number of seeds the user will direct their planter to plant. The user decides, based on their knowledge and experience.

5. Put this data to work
This application map is exported in shapefile (SHP) format and can be loaded directly into a tractor’s console, opened in the user’s preferred farm management information system (FMIS)—either on a PC or in the cloud—or emailed to an agronomist.