AFBI have a number of pending research projects where the UAV will be used. One area where the full potential of the UAV will be utilized is looking at spatial variation in biomass production. Here the ability of the UAV to fly in a wide range of weather conditions mean that a crop can be monitored at various times through the growth cycle. The generation of a high resolution accurate digital elevation model (DEM) means that crop growth (biomass production) can be estimated with high spatial accuracy throughout the observed area.
The Agri-Food Strategy Board’s ‘Going for Growth’ document sets ambitious growth targets for the agri-food sector in Northern Ireland. In order to achieve both this target and the commitment to sustainable growth, significant use of precision agriculture technology will have to be made. The generation of accurate yield maps for grassland is the key step in the development of Precision Agriculture in the forage dominated agricultural sector of Northern Ireland, and delivery of these maps by UAV sourced imagery is the key step in moving this area forward.