Remote Sensing

Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging of plants can reveal real time crop performance insights to guide decisions for improving crop health

The Technology

Thermal imaging devices detect invisible infrared radiation patterns or ‘heat signatures” of plants and convert them into visible false colour images. The thermal image of a plant changes during crop stresses such as drought, nutrient or damage by pests and disease. This is because plants interact with their physical environment by moderating their carbon, water and energy exchange processes allowing them to adapt, survive or thrive. All of which generate different heat signatures.

How it Works

Optical lenses on thermal imaging devices on satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones focus the infrared energy received onto a detector. This can detect subtle changes in temperature from as low as -4C, and constructs a thermogram or temperature pattern which is transformed into electrical signals sent to a processing chip. The chip then converts the thermogram into visual signals, often false coloured where blue & violet = cool, and white, yellow, red and orange = warmer.

Farmer and Agronomist Benefits

Real time crop performance data to guide agronomic decision making for improving crop health in response to environmental factors. These include water management to offset drought stress, field drainage and localised compaction issues affecting healthy crop growth, identifying localised pest and disease outbreaks.

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