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Utilizing Aerial Imagery to Make Enhanced Agronomic Decisions

  • Golden Harvest® Seeds leverages technology to bring value to farmers.

  • Aerial imagery brings farmers actionable crop management information.

  • Images and reports help set season-long recommendations and expectations.


Proactively monitoring fields for potential issues at just the right time is critical for timely management decisions. The biggest challenge is having the time and ability to effectively scout every field in a timely manner. Scouting corn can become even more challenging later in the season. As part of Service 365, Golden Harvest has partnered with DroneDeploy to offer aerial imagery and field reporting for timely insights and to help make difficult management decisions easier (Figure 1). In the first season, Golden Harvest agronomists were able to utilize the latest drone technology with DroneDeploy crop analytics software to fly more than 3,000 flights and deliver imagery for valuable crop insights (Figure 2).

A touchscreen remote controlled drone lying in a patch of grass.
Figure 1. Mavic 2 Pro with DroneDeploy Software

A map showing number of drone flights by region in the US.
Figure 2. Summary of 2021 flights by region

Actionable Crop Management

Aerial imagery has proven to be an efficient, safe and effective digital tool to help streamline Golden Harvest agronomy support throughout the growing season. Aerial imagery allows agronomists and farmers the ability to cover more acres from the ground and to get a more holistic view of what is going on from the sky. Here’s a closer look at 3 of the most popular DroneDeploy software features that help agronomists provide more accurate management suggestions and set season-long expectations.

  1. Stand Counts: Early-season stand counts are an important step in the process of making replant decisions. An accurate stand count can help compare the economic trade-off with lower yield expectations of a reduced stand or replanting. However, it can take a lot of time to manually walk and assess an entire field. DroneDeploy software estimates the average number of plants and plant spacing at multiple spots across the field and quickly identifies specific areas with lower stands. Agronomists can quickly zoom in and view specific areas of the field to better diagnose the cause of the problem. Upon completing the flight, a report is generated that summarizes the findings and map stand estimates in each part of the field (Figure 3).

    Stand count report as well as a map with data showing average number of crop plants and spacing on a field.
    Figure 3. Stand count report from DroneDeploy after a flight
  2. Plant Health: Visualizing crop stress can be invaluable for understanding field variability and evaluating how genetics respond to soil types or specific diseases. DroneDeploy Live Plant Health Maps can help quickly visualize in-season crop variation and field stress. Hundreds of photos are captured and stitched together on the fly to produce a single high-resolution standard orthomosaic RGB (red, green and blue) map. Following the flight, a Visible Atmospherically Resistant Index (VARI) plant health map is produced utilizing green light reflectance (Figures 4 and 5). Plant health maps can help highlight areas of stress that may otherwise be undetectable.

    DroneDeploy live plant health map visualized in-season crop variation and field stress.
    Figure 4. Live Plant Health Map partially through a flight
    Drone Deploy post-processed plant health orthomosaic map.
    Figure 5. Post-processed plant health (VARI) orthomosaic map

    Areas of concern in a field can then be more precisely outlined for ground truthing the cause of the problem, calculating areas affected and creating prescription maps (Figure 6). This saves time and ensures areas of potential issues are not overlooked as may happen with random point scouting. Agronomists can generate a report containing the map, additional photos, notes and the estimated acres affected when scouting is completed.

    DroneDeploy software showing stress affected areas and how they can be calculated and annotated for future reference.
    Figure 6. Using DroneDeploy software, the area of a stress-affected area can be calculated and annotated for later reference
  3. Panoramas and Photos: Panoramas are a very quick way to capture a 360° bird’s-eye view of a field when advanced analysis is not necessary. These photos can help show how widespread a field condition is or provide a general direction of where to scout in a field (Figure 7). General photos can also be used to capture field operations such as planting and harvest or other events.

    Panoramic view of crop fields.
    Figure 7. Panoramic view of fields

Season-Long Recommendations and Expectations

The ability to use aerial imagery to get new perspectives of fields allows the Golden Harvest team to give better recommendations throughout the growing season. It helps fine-tune herbicide and fungicide recommendations, set yield potential expectations and prioritize harvest schedules. Aerial imagery is a beneficial tool for farmers. Golden Harvest is determined to deliver the ultimate service experience from planting to harvest on every farm. Aerial imagery is another tool that helps deliver upon that goal.

To hear more about the overall value of drone technology, watch this video. To learn more about using drones to take stand counts, watch this video.

All photos are either the property of Syngenta or used with permission.

Syngenta hereby disclaims any liability for Third Party websites referenced herein.

Performance assessments are based upon results or analysis of public information, field observations and/or internal Syngenta evaluations.

Product performance assumes disease presence.

© 2022 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. AAtrex 4L, AAtrex Nine-O, Acuron, Agri-Flex, Agri-Mek 0.15EC, Agri-Mek SC, Avicta 500FS, Avicta Complete Beans 500, Avicta Complete Corn 250, Avicta Duo Corn, Avicta Duo 250 Corn, Avicta Duo COT202, Avicta Duo Cotton, Besiege, Bicep II Magnum, Bicep II Magnum FC, Bicep Lite II Magnum, Callisto Xtra, Cyclone SL 2.0, Denim, Endigo ZC, Endigo ZCX, Epi-Mek 0.15EC, Expert, Force, Force 3G, Force CS, Force 6.5G, Force Evo, Gramoxone SL, Gramoxone SL 2.0, Gramoxone SL 3.0, Karate, Karate with Zeon Technology, Lamcap, Lamcap II, Lamdec, Lexar EZ, Lumax EZ, Medal II ATZ, Minecto Pro, Proclaim, Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology, Voliam Xpress and Warrior II with Zeon Technology are Restricted Use Pesticides.

Some seed treatment offers are separately registered products applied to the seed as a combined slurry. Always read individual product labels and treater instructions before combining and applying component products. Orondis Gold may be sold as a formulated premix or as a combination of separately registered products: Orondis Gold 200 and Orondis Gold.

Important: Always read and follow label and bag tag instructions; only those labeled as tolerant to glufosinate may be sprayed with glufosinate ammonium-based herbicides. LibertyLink®, Liberty® and the Water Droplet logo are registered trademarks of BASF. HERCULEX® and the HERCULEX Shield are trademarks of Corteva Agriscience LLC. HERCULEX Insect Protection technology by Corteva Agriscience LLC. Under federal and local laws, only dicamba-containing herbicides registered for use on dicamba-tolerant varieties may be applied. See product labels for details and tank mix partners. Golden Harvest® and NK® soybean varieties are protected under granted or pending U.S. variety patents and other intellectual property rights, regardless of the trait(s) within the seed. The Enlist E3® soybean, LibertyLink®, LibertyLink® GT27®, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield® and XtendFlex® soybean traits may be protected under numerous United States patents. It is unlawful to save soybeans containing these traits for planting or transfer to others for use as a planting seed. Only dicamba formulations that employ VaporGrip® Technology are approved for use with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® and XtendFlex® soybeans. Only 2,4-D choline formulations with Colex-D® Technology are approved for use with Enlist E3® soybeans. The trademarks or service marks displayed or otherwise used herein are the property of a Syngenta Group Company. ENLIST E3® soybean technology is jointly developed with Corteva Agriscience LLC and M.S. Technologies, L.L.C. The ENLIST trait and ENLIST Weed Control System are technologies owned and developed by Corteva Agriscience LLC. ENLIST® and ENLIST E3® are trademarks of Corteva Agriscience LLC. GT27® is a trademark of M.S. Technologies, L.L.C. and BASF. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, XtendFlex®, VaporGrip® and YieldGard VT Pro® are registered trademarks used under license from the Bayer Group.

All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. More information about Agrisure Duracade® is available at


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