A free to attend event will demonstrate how drones can scout crops five times faster than traditional crop walking and how AI can offer advice to farmers about the health of broad acre crops.

A new version of the drone-enabled crop scouting app, Skippy Scout, is being launched at East Lilburn, near Alnwick, on October 16 as part of a national roadshow. Agricultural drone software specialists, Drone Ag, will be offering live interactive demonstrations that will see the new 2.5 version of the award-winning software launched to new and existing users.

“This marks a big step for Skippy Scout because we are launching the new artificial intelligence (AI) software that will count plants, measure healthy crop cover compared to weed cover, report on damaged crops and highlight insect damage,” explained Drone Ag founder, Jack Wrangham.

Automated analysis of images taken using drones will detect the percentage of weeds compared to healthy crop, plants per square metre, instances of disease and insect damage. “This is the most advanced crop scouting tool we have produced and is the culmination of years of development work,” he added.

In conjunction with AI, the new version also draws on satellite data to track and benchmark crop health. “Satellite health maps appear as layers in the app and are updated up to three times a week,” said Mr Wrangham. “These act as a guide to help the user target areas based on key crop performance indicators and can help to identify issues.

“This might be very high growth early in the season that could indicate weeds, or areas of low biomass that would indicate gaps in planting,” he added.

Places can be booked by visiting www.skippy.farm/roadshow and provided regulations allow, it will be going ahead with live, outdoor demonstrations. Should regulations tighten, it will move to live-broadcast events/questions throughout the week, said the organisers.