Aerial observation could save lots of time for graduate students checking and recording their research projects, he added.
All of his pictures were taken under 400 feet in the air.
Wiebold advised learning to fly a drone using an inexpensive model. “It’s different to crash a $1,000 unit than a $9,000 sensor.”
Satellite infrared photos of soybean fields reveal more information than pictures by cameras limited to visible light.
An infrared picture of a field showed an unexplained dead spot, unseen from the ground. That was determined to be the site of a lightning strike.
Aerial images lead to “directed scouting.” Pictures pinpoint where to go for an up-close look. “Without photos, you would never see those areas.”
Wiebold said he has promoted intense scouting of corn and soybean fields for years. “When crop farmers see these videos, they become interested in scouting.” Aerial scouting seems easier than getting lost in a field of tall corn.
Those at Extension meetings on drones get excited about what they learn, Wiebold said. “I’m accused of being a salesperson for drones. I have no financial interest.
“I’ve had listeners at meetings go online and buy a drone while I’m still talking about them. Remote sensors are useful and available. It’s a matter of what platform delivers them best.”