7 Uses For LiDAR in Agriculture

To the untrained eye, a farm is just a sprawling flat space, but farmers know that there are multiple variables in the land, and even nearly undetectable slopes and changes in soil can affect the success of a crop. Having detailed information about your land can help maximize crop output while minimizing costs, and LiDAR technology is a key tool to meet these goals. Discover 10 key ways LiDAR is improving the agricultural industry.

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What Is LiDAR?

Before we look at what LiDAR does, it’s important to know what it is. An acronym for Light Detection and Ranging, LiDAR is used to measure distances and examine the surface of the earth. Using a drone equipped with LiDAR, the ground is continuously scanned to measure the time it takes for the reflection of the laser to bounce off the ground and return to the sensor.

The data recorded is combined with both GPS and inertial measurement unit (IMU) information to create a data set of elevation points at the X, Y, and Z coordinates known as a point cloud, which licensed professionals can use to create highly detailed and accurate 3D models and maps.

Uses for LiDAR in Agriculture

Now let’s look at how this innovative technology can be leveraged to improve the agricultural industry.

3D Elevation Map

Having a detailed, 3D elevation map of your land gives you more than just a “birds-eye view,” you can see exactly where natural resources such as streams are located as well as look at how even minor sloping in the land can affect water drainage and pooling.

Soil Insight and Analysis

Using geospatial measurement data from LiDAR, you can use digital soil mapping to learn more about the terrain, including the quality of the topsoil, the classification and type of soil you have on your farm, and also how well the water can drain.

Improving Irrigation

By understanding where water sources are located or where a well can be dug, you can efficiently map out how to get water where it needs to be, and also you’ll know where to avoid irrigating the land if you have sections where water tends to pool or where the soils hold moisture more efficiently.

Minimizing Erosion

Seeing the slope of your land, even miniscule shifts in elevation, can allow you to minimize soil erosion, which can be detrimental to crops. Knowing in advance allows you to put preventative measures in place or adjust your planting locations or even your crops to avoid losing valuable topsoil.

Planning Crop Planting

When you have a large farm, there are going to be variations in sun exposure, water drainage, erosion, like we mentioned above. All of these factors allow you to plan how, when, and where you plant your crops to ensure maximum output and minimal losses.

Forecasting Crop Yields and Output

LiDAR data can give you more insight into the state of your fields and crop conditions, both before planting and during the growing season. This allows you to analyze data so you can predict crop yields more accurately, allowing you to maximize your income.

Determining Crop Damage

In the event of a severe storm, drought, or other issue, it’s important to know how these affected your crops and if or how much damage there is. LiDAR offers an accurate look at the severity of the loss in a way that aerial footage and on-the-ground monitoring can’t provide.

Schedule a Consultation About LiDAR for Agriculture and Farming Today

To learn more about our LiDAR services and, more specifically, how we use it to help your company improve operations and save time and money, reach out to us today. Call us at 1-888-376-6965 or fill out the form below to get your LiDAR project started.