Based in agricultural drone technology, Novadrone and Sevilla University are collaborating in a Research and Development project to help the rice crop industry to optimize rice production. Over the next two years several flights will be conducted using the Novadrone Nomad.
Rice cultivation in Andalusia background
Since the 1970´s Seville in the Andalucia region of Spain, has been the leading rice-producing region. The area of rice growing crops in Andalusia stands at around 23,687 ha (58,531Acres), with 89% of it concentrated within the province of Seville and the total production at present is 208,080 tonnes, per year.
Rice production in Spain will depend on the capacity of the rice sector to confront forthcoming challenges stemming from a more competitive environment. Presently, there are three areas that can negatively affect the competitiveness of the Spanish rice sector:
- The lack of farm infrastructure;
- A lack of irrigation water and the potential increase in the price of the resource
- Growing restrictions and environmental regulations.
However, these circumstances do not affect all the rice producing regions equally. In addition, both Seville and Extremadura are well suited for growing indica rice which is in high demand in Europe. It has the largest farms and it has been the leader in introducing indica rice to the region. Seville has been the most innovative region in rice farming. However, future developments in rice production will depend on the capacity of the industry to introduce new technologies and to optimize rice crops.
The Novadrone NOMAD has greater precision and resolution abilities than satellite images and also the flexibility to capture images on a daily basis and with lower costs. The use of drones and multispectral sensors are some of the best tool available in today´s market to optimize rice cultivation.
Novadrone and Sevilla University research
Over the next two years several flights will be conducted and the objective of the research study has two main objectives.
- The first objective is compare in real time, satellite captured images with drone captured images, and the aim is to find better correlations between satellite images and the health of crops.
- The second objective is to analyze nitrogen and the health of the plants. Images captured with an agricultural drone using PPK (Post-processing Kinematics) technology. Novadrone will obtain high precision georeferenced images of the plants and at the same time, stem samples are taken from the field to be analyzed in the laboratory and map the health of the rice crops and correlate nitrogen levels.
NDVI map of the rice crop field. Red zones present plant health issues.
NDVI contrasts the red and near-infrared bands of light reflected from plant leaves. It is a general indicator of canopy density and is frequently used to distinguish live green vegetation from soil.
NDRE map of the rice crop field. Red zones present plant health issues.
NDRE is sensitive to chlorophyll content in leaves, variability in leaf area, and soil background effects.
Over the next two years, Novadrone will conduct several flights during the main stages of the harvest season. Researchers at Seville University will monitor the rice field’s and analysis and report their conclusions.
Agricultural Drone Equipment
We will integrate into the NOMAD drone a Micasense Rededge sensor and PPK (Post-Processing Kinematics) system. The data generated will be processed using custom algorithms developed by Seville University and then analyzed in several software solutions.
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