EMILI summer student Tanner West is looking forward to gaining new insight into digital agriculture tools and techniques during his summer 2024 internship at Innovation Farms.

While it’s still a few months before he officially starts his new role, he was given a glimpse into the work he will be taking part in this summer, when Bianca Weber of LandView Drones visited Innovation Farms on March 12 for a full day of drone training.

Summer student Tanner West operating the drone that will fly over Innovation Farms this summer.
Summer student Tanner West operating the drone that will fly over Innovation Farms this summer.

West participated in the training alongside Innovation Farms Manager Leanne Koroscil.

The day started with a Drone Mapping Workshop hosted by LandView Drones, Manitoba Agriculture, and PAMI (Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute). The workshop covered different mapping workflows and tips for using drone imagery software applicable to agriculture.

“We were given an introductory lesson on Pix4Dfield, a software program that allows us to process and stitch together drone images taken across a field during a drone flight,” said Koroscil.

Stitching the drone footage together in this way provides vital data to provide EMILI’s Innovation Farms team insight into crop health throughout the season.

“It was such a great experience to work with the drone and think ahead to the insights we will gain from it,” said Koroscil. “By the afternoon, we were mapping out mock missions.”

The drone, which will fly over Innovation Farms this summer, is equipped with multispectral and RGB drone sensors capable of capturing wavelengths of light invisible to the human eye. When applied to the machine learning algorithms being developed at Innovation Farms, this data will power technology to inform decision-making to increase crop yields, expedite crop breeding, and optimize input application.