Identifying weeds covering 36% of a field with PIX4Dfields

Precision agriculture means using technology to optimize farming whilst saving resources. For almond orchards, that means optimizing yields.

Many people around the world like to grow the food they love - be it strawberries on a windowsill or an apple tree in a garden. If you’re a fan of almonds, you have to wait quite a long time to benefit from planting an almond tree. It takes almost 7 years before an almond tree will start to flower, and after that, it takes another 7 or 8 months before the nuts mature. The yields, however, are delicious, healthy, and popular. Almonds and almond products (such as milk, flour, and oil) are growing in demand and as a result, putting pressure on farms to optimize yields to grow quality nuts.

Precision agriculture technologies are ideal for optimizing yields whilst cutting costs. The applications range from spot-spraying treatments in fields to using multispectral imagery to create vegetation indices and spot disease. These techniques are being applied to almond trees to help boost production.

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This almond orchard is a test site for new precision agriculture techniques

Testing drone mapping for almond trees

AgroPraxes Ag Tech work in specialized agriculture services in Argentina and Spain. Their assignments include caring for the popular wine grape Malbec in addition to nut and fruit orchards and olive groves. These crops are all highly valuable with specialized care required to prepare the plants for harvest.

AgroPraxes partner with specialized agronomic and enologic consultants to enhance their viticulture and nut tree services. The work they provide includes soil and vegetation mapping to optimize yield quality using PIX4Dfields. Recently, they were asked to work on trial plots in an almond tree orchard to see if their methods would optimize the yield.

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A vegetation index can tell you more about the field than can be seen the with naked eye

Project details

LocationYecla, Murcia, Spain
Software usedPIX4Dfields
Hardware usedDJI Mavic 3 Multispectral
Images captured820
Processing time15 minutes
GSD1.96 cm
Processing hardwareIntel Core i7-6500, 12 GB RAM
Intel HD Graphics 520

Experimental farm techniques using drone mapping

AgroPraxes began their work on an experimental farm that is testing new techniques that will optimize almond cultivation and increase sustainability. The aim of the project was to measure a trial plot and study the use of resources in addition to the challenges of working with limited water supplies. AgroPraxes were also asked to assess the irrigation strategy and determine the farm’s carbon footprint.

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The NDVI index the crop conditions across the field become apparent

The plot with the almond trees is on a steep slope with a gradient of 6.5%. It is exposed to multiple challenging factors including diverse fauna plagues and changeable weather. During the data collection phase of this project, the AgroPraxes drone pilot had to strategically fly the drone around rain showers and freezing winds.

Using the Magic Tool from PIX4Dfields

The processing of this data was started in the back of the car on the way to the office from the field. The speed of processing meant that the results were ready within minutes. Then, the team started their analysis using the special features built into PIX4Dfields.

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The Magic Tool identifies anomalies in a plot and plan treatment plans using machine learning

PIX4Dfields’s Magic Tool was launched in November 2022 and is specially designed to help users identify weeds or anomalies in the field in minutes using machine learning, and then plan a spot-spraying application plan. When AgroPraxes processed the data they collected in the field, they used the Magic Tool as part of their analysis.

Thanks to the Magic Tool, the team identified patchy weeds and was able to pinpoint their locations. Of the 1.4 hectare field, only 36% of it had weeds (or 0.55 hectares). The MagicTool recorded this data and it was exported in a format that allowed a spray drone to target the weeds and apply the treatment product only where it was needed, saving money, time, and resources. AgroPraxes used the Agras T10 spray drone to treat the field, which they guided using a shape file from PIX4Dfields’s Magic Tool.

Improving agricultural workflows with sustainable practices

Sustainable farming practices are relying more and more heavily on precise resource use - rather than blanket spraying a field, it is better to individually treat problem areas or sources of disease. This use of precision agriculture has widespread benefits ranging from reducing waste to preventing chemical flow from reaching neighboring ecosystems.

“We are working in a busy growing season and reaching the peak of vine care. With the fast processing from PIX4Dfields we are handling a high demand on our services,” Federico Framarini, AgroPraxes

The speed and precision of this workflow saw AgroPraxes save time and money, and gather data that would be used to better care for the almond trees and thus optimize yields. The team highlighted the speed and precision of the drone mapping software as it gave more insights into the test field - and thus, more information on how best to care for the crop.

Discover drone mapping for agriculture

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