A UF/IFAS research study aims to expand the uses for drones in citrus groves beyond counting trees.

Drones have been on the forefront of the latest in ag tech, and one University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) research study is looking to expand the uses for drones in citrus groves, according to a Citrus Industry article. Currently, drones are capable of tallying the trees in a citrus grove, according to the article, but researchers are looking to add a host of capabilities that would make drones a real boon to citrus growers. See the details of the study below.

Expanding the Capabilities of Drones in Citrus Groves

The article stems from an All In For Citrus podcast where Yiannis Ampatzidis, a UF/IFAS associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering and study researcher, detailed the aims of the study. Researchers attached an imaging mechanism to a drone, and they then utilized software to accurately detect citrus trees and gaps in a grove from the drone’s aerial photos.

The researchers hope to advance those capabilities in a number of ways, such as:

  • Detect the health status of trees
  • Evaluate citrus varieties and rootstocks
  • Detect citrus tree traits that allow for a diagnoses of heat stress and diseases, such as citrus greening
  • For agriculture insurance policies that require detailed grove information
  • To save growers time, money, and labor

Ampatzidis said in the article, “This is the very first step toward developing an individual tree analysis. Growers need to know the number and location of tree gaps in order to replant new trees. They need to know problematic areas and weak trees.”

Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.