LSU testing use of drones in agriculture

Charles Malveaux, LSU AgCenter research associate, left, explains the capabilities of an unmanned aerial vehicle to personnel at the Rice Research Station. The devices have the potential to aid farmers and crop consultants by scouting fields for pests, and LSU AgCenter researchers are investigating other possible uses for the aircraft.LSU AgCenter researchers are examining thepossibility of using unmanned drones to help farmers monitor their crops from the air.

“The technology appears to be promising,” said AgCenter engineer Randy Price.

Price said a drone was used recently to check freeze damage in a sugarcane field by taking aerial photographs.

He said the AgCenter hopes to send a drone equipped with a sensor to measure crop growth. The device measures the growth of a plant, providing indications of whether more fertilizer is needed on specific areas of a field.

 Jimmy Flanagan, LSU AgCenter county agent in St. Mary Parish, is learning to use a helicopter drone to fly over sugarcane fields to determine if adequate fertilizer has been applied.

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