Unmanned Aircraft Demonstration Highlighted at Agronomy Field Day

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One of the most exciting recent developments in agriculture is the use of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems to evaluate crop conditions.  Producers, agronomists and the public can view a demonstration of this new technology at the 2013 Agronomy Field Day on Aug. 16 at Kansas State University’s Agronomy North Farm.

The use of these unmanned aircraft systems equipped with aerial optical sensing technology has gained national press attention in recent months.  Kevin Price, K-State, professor of agronomy and geography, and Deon van der Merwe, associate professor of veterinary medicine and head of the diagnostic laboratory toxicology section, are among the leading researchers in the nation on this technology.  They are working to develop systems that can be used by the agricultural community.

“We’ve had an incredible reception among consultants, producers, plant breeders and others when we’ve shown them what this technology can do.  It has the potential to make their jobs much easier and will help them make better recommendations in a more timely manner,” Price said.

“At the field day, I will be showing some of the kinds of things we can accomplish with these small Unmanned Aircraft Systems in field demonstrations,” he added.

This is just one of several new technologies featured at the field day by agronomy researchers.  Other demonstrations will show the work of Dave Mengel, professor and soil fertility specialist on optical sensors for nutrient recommendations; Vara Prasad, associate professor and crop physiologist on stress tolerance research; and Peter Tomlinson, assistant professor and environmental quality specialist and Chuck Rice, university distinguished professor of agronomy on techniques used to measure greenhouse gases.

The field day will begin with registration at 9 a.m. and wrap up at 2 p.m.  There is no charge to attend, and a complimentary lunch will be available.  Preregistration is requested so that a lunch count can be made. Those interested in attending can preregister by calling Troy Lynn Eckart at 785-532-5776. To preregister online, see: http://kstateagron2013.eventbrite.com/.

Sessions include two concurrent one-hour tours in the morning, starting at 9:45 and 11 a.m. After lunch, there will be demonstrations on sUAS flights; analyzing and interpreting images from sUAS technology; and field checking of optical sensing readings for crop nutrient status.

In addition, there will be displays from commercial companies and K-State researchers in the shed near the registration area, along with the crop garden, forage garden, and weed garden for browsing.  Extension specialists will be available to answer questions.

For more information, interested persons can contact Dallas Peterson at 785-532-0405 or [email protected]