Drones in Production Agronomy
This chapter discusses the knowledge accrued till date about drones and their role in crop monitoring, basal and in-season fertilizer supply, irrigation, and yield forecasts. Drones, with their multispectral and thermal sensors, would actually form the most crucial component of production agronomy in future. A wide range of agronomic procedures may become efficient and accurate, if we adopt drone technology. Drones fitted with cameras that operate at visible and near-infrared range have been used to study the crop fields. Crop surface models that apply for the entire region of a particular crop species/genotype too could be prepared. Drone imagery has been utilized, to first scout the natural vegetation, the soil and crop stand, then trace and map variations in nutrient status of crops. Drones offer side-by-side comparison of crop genotypes, parent lines and crosses. Li et al. reported that during rice production, fluorescence emissions and polyphenol content could be measured nondestructively, using sensors on drones.