Case Study: Detecting Black Grass in OSR Using Smart Detection


Jack Wrangham is a commercial drone operator in the UK. His company, Drone Aerial Operators Group, provides services to many industries and specializes in providing solutions for agriculture through DroneAg. With almost a decade of experience in aerial photography, he entered the drone industry early and has ridden the leading edge ever since.

In a continued quest to provide better data for farmers, Jack needed more than simple pictures coming back from the flights over his fields. Standard cameras in the visual range weren’t providing the data needed to count individual plants, detect weed growth, or measure plant health. Basic heat-maps of NDVI and other indices wasn’t enough either, leading him to seek a solution that also included advanced analytics for ag professionals.



When his company was contracted to help track a black grass infestation in an Oil Seed Rape field, Jack knew he needed a solution with a calibrated, high-resolution multispectral sensor. He found the 3p sensor combined with the power of SlantView fit his needs.

Using SlantView's Smart Detection feature, Jack worked with the farmer to mark a couple of locations on the map where Black Grass was growing, allowing the software to then take over and show all the other locations where the same multispectral signature appeared. Right away they understood where the combine inadvertently distributed Black Grass during the last harvest.

Taking the information from the map, they did some additional ground-truthing, providing hands-on verification and tuning of the data set. This fine-tuning allowed them to optimize the detections, not only on the current map, but also on future maps from the same field as well as other fields.

 blackgrass-osr-map-with stress


Knowing where Black Grass had encroached on the field allowed the farmer to tune his treatment plan, saving time and money. With the increase of multiple-herbicide resistant black-grass strains, knowing exactly where in each field the weed is located allowed the farmer to fine-tune control methods within a single field.

The SlantView software saves changes to the Smart Detection filter, alleviating the need to walk the field in the future. Next time, a data collection alone will provide the farmer with all the data he needs to know the effectiveness of the treatments. Filters persist not only from one field to the next but from one season to the next, allowing methods that take advantage of the non-persistence of Black Grass to also be evaluated year over year with minimal future tuning required. The farmer is able to increase accuracy and start treatment sooner with the detail provided by SlantView's analytics.

As DroneAg researches more and better drone solutions for agriculture on their 2400 ha farm, SlantView continues to be a tool in their belt. Providing them with industry-leading sensor data and the software to take advantage of it.

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