Can drones save potato farms from climate change?

Can drones save potato farms from climate change?


Under the future climate, agriculture is
going to have to adapt more quickly to changing conditions than ever in history.
So, I’m looking to help potato farmers adapt to climate change impacts. They’re
going to face a harder time with varying weather conditions such as hotter
temperatures, different precipitation patterns, so it’s really difficult to
make decisions on farming. What we hope to be part of the solution is drones, and
the information can give us from the air. Drones got introduced to the lab in 2016,
and since that time we’ve expanded to a number of other drone models and sensors.
We’ve expanded our work in coastal erosions to precision agriculture as
well. In PEI, precision agriculture is fairly new. Right now, when you farm, when you apply fertilizer, you may apply fertilizer
across the whole field, but there might be some areas are doing fine that don’t
need more fertilizer. So, if you’re able to precisely see what areas need certain
inputs, whether that’s water or fertilizer or other chemicals, then you
can just apply to the areas that need it. It’s more effective for using less
inputs, so it saves a money and it’s also better for the environment. Drones are big
part of precision agriculture because up in the sky we can collect a lot of data but
very precisely. You can look at per plant how it’s doing and what it needs. So we
can look at things like plant health. We also have thermal sensors, we can look at
water stresses, we can look at heat loss, all sorts of options. And we also have a
LiDAR sensor now, so we can get all sorts of accurate topographical data for an
area. And so by supporting the farmers so that they can make the right decisions
at the right time they’ll be able to help ensure food security for our region
and also globally.

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