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Sunday, December 17, 2017
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FieldCopter Workshop in Jerez

Following up the conference in Lleida, on October 25th 2013 a FieldCopter workshop was held in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) focussing on the wine growing sector. More than 50 agricultural stakeholders from the wine sector in the Cadiz Province attended this workshop, interested in knowing the benefits of using UAS for remote sensing purposes in agriculture.


The workshop started with a welcome by Mr Eric van Valkengoed, explaining that in the Netherlands for potato crops, satellite based services proved to be insufficient as an operational supplier of required crop status information, due to adverse cloudiness conditions. For vineyards, the resolution of satellite imagery is too coarse for adequate monitoring of the vines and grapes. Dr Anibal Ollero explained how the use of UAS can overcome the limitations of satellite-based imagery for precision agriculture, due to increased flexibility of the platform that can be engaged at dedicated locations and times. He pointed out the huge economic potential of the expected market for precision agriculture in the coming years.

Next, Dr Pablo Zarco explained how vegetation indices like NDVI have proven to be very interesting tools for measuring the crop development and water or nutrient stress. The use of small and low-weight thermal and multispectral cameras on board UAS allow the acquisition of images for this purpose, with high flexibility and fast generation of results.

Mr Rodrigo Valdivieso, business development manager of ELIMCO, a Spanish company that develops and integrates UAS, gave insight in the current situation of UAS regulations in Spain. Spanish authorities have not published any regulation yet, but several meetings are taking place involving the main actors. He concluded by encouraging the audience to communicate their needs to the authorities so that they can be aware of the operating requirements.

Because irrigation is not allowed on grapes in this region, the FieldCopter business must here focus on crop vigour, nutrient deficiencies, plagues and vegetation diseases, and to treat them accordingly. Farmers and other stakeholders showed their interest in experiencing how the service can work and how much savings can be made on a farm. It can be seen that there is room for specialised and dedicated companies that provide UAS-based services.

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FieldCopter is carried out in the context of the Galileo FP7 R&D programme supervised by the GSA (Nr. 277612-2).