Even barely poking through the ground, weeds are distinctive. Determining the right tools for early identification and control are the goals of an ongoing Texas A&M AgriLife Research project.
Dr. Muthu Bagavathiannan, AgriLife Research weed scientist in College Station, is using unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to “read the weeds.”
“Our goal is to use advanced sensor technology to detect weeds from above the ground and implement precision weed management,” Bagavathiannan said.
The current practice is to have field scouts walk the large fields to look for weed issues, he explained. This is a tedious, time-consuming task that can be inaccurate, and bad weather conditions can prevent timely assessments of weed problems.
“But the UAV technology would provide the ability to fly over large fields and collect reliable information in a short time period that can be directly relayed into actionable information,” Bagavathiannan said. “We need this technology to make that identification sooner than the naked eye can.”