2017 phenotyping campaign in Corsica – Water stress detection for irrigation management in a citrus plantation (pomelos). Results obtained from 3087 thermal images taken by the company I-Techdrone. Analysis and data processing service by Drones Imaging.
With high sensitive plants such as citrus, water deficit is a phenomenon that directly affects physiological variables. It results in a sharp decline of crop quality and yield.
If automatic irrigation is the first response to climate change and soil aridity, plantation irrigation methods and strategies have become an economic issue for farmers. In this context, the local Corsican agricultural community, in partnership with I-Techdrone and Drones Imaging companies, tested new technologies for the management of irrigation allowing inputs rationalization according to the needs of the crop.
Indeed, thanks to a thermal orthophography carried out above a 17ha orchard, the temperature measurements on the whole plot allowed to evaluate the water potential of the vegetal cover. They have proved very useful to identify areas requiring more or less water. If this initial diagnosis already allows the operator to pilot its irrigation, other plantation overflights are already programmed at key stages for annual monitoring and accurate irrigation over time.