Drones drive grains re­search

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Rodeo -

AUS­TRALIAN broad­acre farm­ers are to ben­e­fit from in­creas­ing de­vel­op­ment and in­vest­ment in grain sorghum­fo­cused Agtech.

Agtech fund­ing is a hot topic in the broad­acre in­dus­try and in­vest­ment has in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly in the past 12 months with gov­ern­ment in­vestors, cor­po­rates and farm­ers driv­ing sig­nif­i­cant in­no­va­tion, fo­cus and fund­ing.

Pa­cific Seeds is in­vest­ing in a range of tech­nolo­gies to deliver more ro­bust and ef­fi­cient so­lu­tions to farm­ers.

Pa­cific Seeds plant breeder Solomon Feky­belu said the com­pany was in­tro­duc­ing mul­ti­spec­tral imag­ing and drone tech­nol­ogy into its grain sorghum breed­ing pro­grams, which would rapidly speed up data col­lec­tion.

“These in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies are mak­ing the col­lec­tion of data a more pre­cise process,” Dr Feky­belu said.

“Tasks that used to take hours and even days to com­plete, now only take 20 min­utes or so and can be com­pleted at mul­ti­ple stages dur­ing the crop cy­cle.

“Drone mul­ti­spec­tral imag­ing tech­nolo­gies use green, red, red-edge and near in­frared wave­bands to cap­ture both vis­i­ble and in­vis­i­ble images of crops and veg­e­ta­tion.

“In the fu­ture we will be able to ex­plore traits that sim­ply are not pos­si­ble to in­ves­ti­gate with the cur­rent man­ual process due to the phys­i­cal im­ped­i­ments of do­ing so.

“These tech­nolo­gies will speed up the de­vel­op­ment of com­pre­hen­sively tested grain sorghum prod­uct that will be most rel­e­vant to chang­ing cli­matic con­di­tions.”

Dr Feky­belu said the next phase of im­ple­men­ta­tion was fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing the best pos­si­ble soft­ware and math­e­mat­i­cal al­go­rithms to en­able breed­ers to an­a­lyse and in­ter­pret the sig­nif­i­cant amount of data now at our fin­ger­tips.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

FU­TURE FARM­ING: AgTech is the fu­ture for broad­acre farm­ing ac­cord­ing to Solomon Feky­belu.

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