Test Flights in Ghana
These videos were taken to demonstrate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to rapidly survey maize farms 30 km east of Tema near the town of Tsopoli.
1. Sparsely planted maize field
Initial ground observation of this field from afar suggested a significant maize crop. Upon aerial surveying the field, the field showed a lot less potential for stover production than initially expected. Most of the plants in the field are not maize but another crop that was planted alongside maize. We also note a wide variation in the density of planting which poses challenges to the baling step in stover aggregation process. Were this to be part of a larger field targeted for stover harvesting, only a portion of this field would be targeted for stover aggregation. This video was obtained using manual piloting of drone. For larger fields a preprogrammed or automated survey flight can be implemented.
2. Densely planted maize field
Here, we see a noticeable and overall improvement in the planting density. However, the flight shows significant variation in the planting density with the left side exhibiting higher density. Closer inspection confirms that the density is due to maize and not another other crop. The ability to distinguish between green and yellow ears of maize also allows us to estimate a harvest date which can be used for planning the logistics of stover aggregation.