Drones in Irrigation and Water Management During Crop Production
Agricultural crop production depends immensely on water resources. The soil moisture status, its fluctuations during the season, precipitation-use efficiency, availability of stored water and irrigation methodology adopted are important parameters which affect the cropping systems preferred by farmers, crop species that dominate an agrarian region and yield goals envisaged by the farmers. Drones, with their ability for thermal imagery, could be useful and efficient, in the identification of soil moisture heterogeneity and its influence on tree crop water status. Once the crop is established, drone imagery is also utilized to monitor irrigation. Drones cost less to conduct experimental evaluation of crop genotypes for drought tolerance. Drones are rapid and data could be obtained repeatedly. In future, plant breeders intending to screen crop genotypes for drought stress could make use of drones. Costa et al. shows that in future, thermal imagery can be of use to identify heat tolerant and drought tolerant crop genotypes.