Corteva’s agricultural drone fleet largest in the world

…And they are making them smarter

With a fleet of over 400 drones to its name, Corteva Agriscience – the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont – has by far the largest drone feet in the world – and now it is using those drones to transform the way farmers manage their crops.

The agriculture giant’s fleet comprising of largely DJI Mavic 2 Pros has been enhanced with DroneDeploy’s advanced mapping software to power the drones that will be used in operations like Seed Production and Supply Chain, Pioneer Strategic Account Management and Agronomy.

Spanning three continents, DroneDeploy’s Live Map technology provides Corteva Agriscience’s UAV fleet of DJI drones with immediate insights to diagnose and correct agronomic, disease, and pest concerns, as well as to suggest locations for optimal product placement.

And recently, Corteva Flight, a proprietary flight software to expedite field scouting missions was added to the drones, which will be piloted in Canada before being spread everywhere else. The traditional method for scouting corn is picking out 17.5 feet for every 100 feet of row, and counting plants for a plant stand assessment, but with challenging conditions this past spring, technology can be utilized to more quickly and accurately assess something like stand counts — from the air.

“Corteva Flight takes a different approach — I can get a tenth of an acre sample, using this drone to take a quick snapshot of the field in that particular area, then it’ll run that software on the picture to get a scan count,” says Chris Olbach, an Ontario, Canada-based agronomist with Corteva.

A gap count and different metrics can also be calculated to help a grower understand their stand better. In about 20 minutes, 60 images can be collected, and by the time the drone reaches the edge of the field again, that information is analysed and available.

The software works well for corn and soybean stand counts, but other applications will be developed in the future. “What makes Corteva Flight such an incredibly powerful tool is its ability to overcome sample biases of stand assessment in the past,” says Dave Harwood, technical services manager for Corteva Agriscience. “A tenth of an acre sampled more frequently and across a wider area provides more accuracy and efficiency that’s far less subject to error.”

The cost of flights and images is integrated into the agronomic services that Corteva Agrisciences and Pioneer representatives provide. The nine drones that were deployed in eastern Canada have already paid dividends for farmers, says Harwood.

Agriculture may be as old as civilization itself, but thanks to new technologies that make it easier to monitor crops and maximize yields, the industry remains on the cutting edge. In less than 15 minutes, advanced UAV technology can survey a 160-acre field to identify variations in plant soil and health, giving farmers direct access to real-time aerial views and data to help make informed agronomic decisions. The result is a full-scale drone operation that gives agronomists and contract seed growers the ability to make timely determinations that directly impact seed yields and quality. 

DroneDeploy’s Live Map technology provides real-time crop insights that enable growers to take immediate agronomic actions in the field. Whether it’s identifying an area that lacks irrigation or a particular crop that’s sprouting better (or worse) than expected, agricultural UAVs enable farmers to course correct issues through powerful, data-driven insights. Once drone fleets are ready to be deployed to field teams, drone operators undergo training to determine how to harness the power of aerial technology and ensure that operations adhere to local aviation regulations. 

Utilizing UAVs developed by DJI, the collaboration between Corteva Agriscience and DroneDeploy brings some of the world’s most powerful agriscience solutions together with the world’s leading commercial drones and commercial drone software. Corteva Agriscience’s portfolio of products includes some of the world’s most recognizable brands in agriculture, including Pioneer and Brevant seeds, Encirca and Granular, as well as Crop Protection products developed through active chemistry and technology.

DJI, the world leader in commercial and civilian drones, makes up more than 70% of the drone market and offers a wide variety of UAV products across many different industries. Combined with DroneDeploy’s user-friendly platform for real-time sharable drone maps and 3D models, farmers and agronomists across the globe will be able to carry out data-driven actions to keep fields full, healthy, and ready for seasons to come. 

Source: RealAgriculture; DJI

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