Want to know how to perform in-depth and accurate stand counts to pinpoint areas of potential yield loss and take corrective measures at key times during the growing season?

Best-in-Class Corn Stand Counts with Drone Technology

Dragana Andrejic | Agremo

Reprinted with permission from the Agremo blog:

Evaluating plant emergence is an important early-season management question. Its purpose is to answer the question how many corn seeds have emerged into a healthy plant and whether or not the corn plant population levels are below optimum levels.

A successfully performed stand count will help corn growers get an accurate and thorough picture of the corn seeds that have emerged into healthy plants, and provide insights about areas with potential crop loss. If this information is provided in time, farmers can intervene and even enhance crop yield potential.

Fact is, however, that the common crop counting methods which are currently being used have serious flaws, one of which is that they are mostly estimates with severe error rates.

Besides that, on-the-ground sampling methods are rarely proactive and often fail to mitigate problems in time, leaving farmers with substantial crop loss and budget deficiencies.


Common Plant Counting Methods — Arduous and Unable to Provide Facts

Poor plant emergence can be caused by a variety of things: inadequate seed quality, the wrong seeding rate, an improper planting date or even unfavorable weather conditions.

And in order to spot such deficiencies at an early stage, it’s necessary to do regular stand counts and evaluate the crop population responses effectively.

But common plant counting methods fail to provide unbiased and precise data, as they analyze only small parts of the field. Today, there is a better way to do stand counts: drone-based corn stand analysis.

Farmers who implemented smart farming solutions into their workflow know that the price-performance ratio of today’s drone-technology solutions for agriculture is better than ever before. And while drone operation costs keep decreasing, the associated technological (and financial!) possibilities keep growing.

By contrast, today’s common plant counting methods have changed very little over the past decades in terms of technological efficiency: they all involve a lot of legwork and often include outdated and inaccurate measuring instruments that provide little or no precise data.


Plant Counts Today

One possibility of evaluating corn stands is the 1/1000th acre method. To obtain the number of plants per acre, the corn growers count the number of corn plants in a specific length of row (1/1000th of an acre) and multiply the number by 1000. This is then repeated in different locations in the field.

Similar to this, corn stands can be assessed by taking random samples in the field, or on specific, predetermined locations on the field.

Another way is the so called wheel method, where 150 plants are counted while measuring the distance using a measuring wheel. In order to obtain an estimate of the number of plants per acre, the obtained number is multiplied.

Having in mind how big the limitations and how small the level of accuracy of all these methods is, it seems like a tremendous waste of time and potential to simply stick with such vague ways of determining plant stands. Rather than providing facts, traditional stand count methods offer only estimates and are unable to provide reliable location data.

Especially large-scale farms have difficulty obtaining the precise data they need. Not only do they need to know whether or not they have poor germination rates, they need to know where they are. Common stand counts can’t help with that.

These were the exact points our team of avid drone enthusiasts and precision ag engineers took into account while designing a solution that would allow farmers to see more and simply do better.

"What we came up with is an easy-to-grasp solution that provides tangible results of what is actually happening on your corn field. No special skills required!”, says Milan, the CEO of Agremo."

And with corn season just around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to get a glimpse of how drone-based plant counts can help you work around the limitations of manual stand counts and how you can use drone-based stand counts to ultimately boost plant responses.


Drone-based Plant Counting — at the Top of Smart Crop Management

As opposed to common stand count methods, drone-based stand establishment is designed to provide accurate results which are easily transformed into an action plan with the farmer having to spend less time on the field.

And what’s even more important: you’ll know where the areas with low germination rates are, which allows you to tackle the issue at the very source of the problem.


Thorough and Actionable — Corn Stand Counting with Agremo

Agremo (formerly AgriSens) combines aerial imagery with computer vision and is designed to help farmers maximize every grain of potential. The plant count analysis works on corn as well as on seasonal row crops which are in early growing stages.

This is the biggest advantage of drone-based solutions: farmers are able to adjust ag plans and crop management decisions at the right time and the right place. Smart farming is always prompt and proactive!


How to Boost Corn Yield with Agremo

Working with Agremo is simple:

How to improve farming practices with Agremo


Ask a local drone operator to map your field and upload these images then to a stitching platform such as DroneDeploy. This is requires to turn images into maps, which can then be analyzed. Then go to the Agremo app, upload your 2D map and choose one of the 9 analyses you need — in this case, choose stand count.

Within two business days or less, your report will be ready! You’ll get to know the exact number of plants on your field, as well as valuable information on planting density and planting rate.

Here’s what one of our users learned about his corn field thanks to Agremo’s stand count report:

The report shows whether the current crop performance is below the optimum level, and if yes, how big the number of potentially lost plants is:

The results of this user enabled the grower to take the necessary measures in time and achieve four-figure savings!

The list of possibilities goes on, as corn is not the only crop type that can be successfully analyzed with drone technology.

Take tomatoes for example: an agricultural consultant from Northern Carolina discovered a more than 20% discrepancy between the expected tomato stands and the actual plant responses thanks to the Agremo plant count analysis.


The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AgriTechTomorrow

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