Drone technology aids wheat researchers

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Texas A&M AgriLife is now using drones to aid in its research in finding the best wheat seed to harvest in the High Plains.

They said they've seen improvements on their research thanks to the new technology..

"This is allowing us to take things to a whole new level," said Shannon Baker, from Texas A&M AgriLife. "We've have ground based instrumentation that we've used for 15-20 years but there is so much human error involved with that. With the stability and the platforms, once these UAVs get in the air, what they can show us is just phenomenal."

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Drones take away the traditional format of researchers inspecting the plots individually, saving time.

"We can do a simultaneous overview of them in about 10 minutes where it takes me 3 to 4 hours to walk across," said Jackie Rudd of AgriLife.

They also ensure less room for errors.

"The drones flying over can tell us things that maybe I can't even see with my eye," said Rudd.

And the models that are formed from their data are more efficient for producers.

"It allows us to create models of the greenness and growth of the crop, the crop height and all kinds of other measurements that if you can dream it an engineer can probably model it," said Baker.

After harvest in June, researchers will be able to look at the data and see just how helpful the drones were.

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