A grant from the Innovation Fund Denmark’s Innobooster program, enables the Danish drone company, Scout Robotics, to initiate a larger project with drones that measure photosynthesis in potato fields and use the information to ensure more accurate spraying of fields.
Scout Robotics promotes sustainability in Danish agriculture with new innovative digital precision technology. When the technology is developed, it will mean that the farmer can spray the field exactly according to the crops’ specific needs. It will create three clear benefits:
- The potato farmer reduces the consumption of pesticides and saves on costs
- Increased starch percentage in the potatoes
- The environment is spared unnecessary use of pesticides
The starch potato is classified as a high-value crop, both due to the variety’s rich uses and a time-consuming growth period. At the same time, the potato is difficult to regulate in relation to pesticides, as too much or too little nitrogen will result in a loss of starch percentage. And the starch percentage is exactly what it is all about. Due to starch’s ability to bind water, the potato variety is used in the manufacture of many different products, where the starch percentage is essential for the value of the potato.
Today, the entire field is sprayed with the same amount of pesticides, where the healthy plants risk getting too much nitrogen.
Scout Robotics will equip drones with multispectral cameras that photograph the field and capture the light reflection of the crops. The weak plants will have reduced efficiency of photosynthesis, and therefore can not reflect the infrared light on an equal level as the healthy ones. A Normalized Difference Vegetation Index analysis will measure photosynthesis from the images and prepare a map, which in color codes points out where the specific need is. The map is used by the potato farmer, who can specify the spraying to the weak potato plants with the right amount of nitrogen.
Scout Robotics’ precision technology will mean that the potato farmer can save the consumption of nitrogen, and at the same time increase the value of the potatoes by an increased starch percentage – all the while the potato farmer reduces his climate footprint.