Drone Technology Takes Off With Vermont Farmers
Drone Tech Helps Vermont Farmers

FAIRFAX, Vt. (WCAX) “You can look at pest control, drought damage, flood damage,” said Mike Middleman, a water quality specialist with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

The “Unmanned Aircraft Systems” team at UVM’s Spatial Analysis Lab is giving a drone demo to a potential new partner, the state’s Agency of Agriculture.

Drones can be preprogrammed with a flight path over farm fields using a GPS mapping computer.

“For this entire area, it’s going to collect 3,000 images. And then when we get back to our lab, we’ll stitch those all together,” explained Jarrett Barbuto, a UAS pilot.

That “stitching” will result in a high-resolution image similar to what you’d see on Google Earth, except much more detailed. Multispectral and infrared cameras can be used to show soil moisture and crop health through 3-D renderings of the landscape. The view from above helps give a big picture of what’s going on back on the ground, including identifying potential problem spots susceptible to erosion or water runoff. The state hopes valuable information like that will entice other farmers to voluntarily participate in their pilot project.