← BCC students help out farmers using Drone Technology

Earlier in the year, the College purchased a drone with funding provided through the AGSIP Small Grant Scheme.  The drone is equipped with a normal RGB camera and an infra-red camera.  The data from these are combined to produce the NDVI (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index) data which shows the photosynthetic activity of plants.

This is an NVDI image taken from a drone during a Senior Agricultural Science class field excursion at a macadamia farm in the Bundaberg region.

The survey image is of 12.5 hectares.  The farm has been planted in blocks of three varieties.  The farmer had commented that one of the varieties did not yield as well as the others at harvest.

When the NDVI image was displayed, the variety not producing well was clearly shown (in yellow and orange as opposed to the healthy green).  Also showing clearly, are bands across the rows indicating where irrigation drippers drain out.  Students have analysed these results and developed legitimate and achievable recommendations for the farmer.

The same technology has also been used on the Senior Biology field study of coastal ecosystems.

Queensland Farmers Federation featured this article in their online edition dated 5 October 2018.

Bob Hibbard - HOF Science & PE