How a farmer cuts costs by 56% with PIX4Dfields
Global demand for food is growing bigger but the challenges around agriculture and crop production are growing too. Increased prices of agricultural inputs and the higher need for more sustainable ways of production are posing a modern farming challenge. Smart agriculture technologies can not only used to help solve this problem but also save significant costs and alleviate farmers’ demanding and quite often unpredictable challenges.
Targeted foliar herbicide spraying on a wheat field
Marcos Esteve Pamias is a farmer and mechanical engineer managing his family farm in Valdorba in Spain. Along with his farming work of growing wheat, barley and oats, Marcos also works at EOSOL where his current project involves developing a virtual fertilization advisor. Together with his family, they started organic farming in 2012 before they switched to precision farming in 2017, with the aim to reduce their environmental footprint.
Their family farm is fully equipped with precision farming technology to carry out all applications successfully in the field. The machinery and equipment include weather stations, a drone with a multispectral camera as well as a tractor with isobus connection which allows for full control over farming operations.
|User||Marcos Esteve Pamias|
|Project duration||2 days|
|Area surveyed||8 acres|
|Hardware used||DJI Phantom 4 Multispectral|
|Processing hardware||CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, 64GB RAM, GPU 4080.|
|Processing time||23 minutes|
The Magic Tool identifying areas to be treated with herbicide
Marcos began working to treat areas on his farm that were affected by weeds: more specifically brome. The factors that defined this project were the high herbicide costs and their foliar application, which makes it even more important to only target areas on the field with high concentration in weeds. To precisely locate these areas, Marcos flew a drone and processed all the images he captured in PIX4Dfields, with results ready in just 23 minutes. After the fast processing, he analyzed the multispectral images.
The areas affected with brome were clearly visible from the images taken with the drone. Marcos could select some of these areas with the Magic Tool to highlight what to detect in the field. With PIX4Dfields’ Magic Tool, the remaining areas affected by weeds were detected instantly, allowing Marcos to create a prescription map for a targeted herbicide application only in the areas where weed concentration is high.
After the creation of this prescription map in PIX4Dfields, it can be integrated to the tractor’s system, in this case a John Deere tractor, for a variable rate herbicide application. Overall, the project took just two days, and with PIX4Dfields’ Magic Tool, helped the farmer save 56% of costs on herbicide that would have been applied in the case of a blanket application.
Reducing herbicide costs applied per hectare
With the growing pressure to reduce resource use whilst increasing yields, precision farming projects like these are becoming more common. The fast turnaround of collecting data, processing the imagery, and analyzing the results with PIX4Dfields made it easy to react quickly to the weeds as well as saving money on spot-treatments rather than blanket spraying the field.
“What I liked most about Pix4D is both the accuracy and speed of orthomosaics generation, as well as the ability to take advantage of the data by generating new indices or tools for data analytics.” - Marcos Esteve Pamias, Farmer
The project had a great impact on reducing herbicide applied per hectare as both the product used and the cost per hectare has been halved. Additionally, using less herbicide means being more sustainable and environmentally friendly, which lines up with the aims of Marcos and his family for their farm. Marcos highlighted PIX4Dfields’ high quality and orthomosaic images resolution, speed, and the Magic Tool functionality. Accuracy and speed, and most importantly the fast generation of valuable analytics, are what made this farmer choose PIX4Dfields software for his agriculture applications.