KAP Agricultural

Rich Douglass and J.S. Aber

Kite aerial photography has varied applications in agriculture for acquiring low-height, highly detailed imagery of crops, soils, and field treatments. The use of KAP for agriculture has been developed by Rich Douglass, an instructor at Southeast Community College in Beatrice, Nebraska. He is instructing students in the method for crop scouting, which involves variability and estimates of crop yields and assessment of growing conditions. Based on the results of KAP, farmers can be advised about means to increase crop yield and net income through improved field treatments or management.

Douglass began his KAP experience in 1998, when he visited Emporia State University, Kansas to practice basic KAP methods with J.S. Aber. The success of this venture led to further efforts to develop KAP equipment and techniques suited for crop-scouting applications. Douglass currently employs a Fujifilm 700 digital camera (1280 by 1024 pixel resolution) and plans to use a 1600x1200 camera soon. A digital camera has the advantage of returning images "instantly" for analysis in the field and quick consultation with farmers. As far as we are aware, this is the first and only use of kite aerial photography for precision agriculture in the country.

View over the campus of Southeast Community College (SCC) in Beatrice, Nebraska. Photo © by R. Douglass.
Portion of the SCC agricultural program laboratory land, near Beatrice, Nebraska. Notice the center-pivot irrigation system in upper right portion of this view. Such irrigation systems rotate around the field in a circular pattern. Photo © by R. Douglass.
Autumn view of mature corn crop field. The circular tracks were made by the center-pivot irrigation system. Green patches are weed infestations. Photo © by R. Douglass.
Another view of the same field shown above. Note gaps in the row crop, where the cultivator inadvertently destroyed some of the crop, missed rows or got out of alignment with rows. Photo © by R. Douglass.
Closeup, vertical view of field shown above. Gaps in crop rows are the result of "operator error," and these spots will produce lower yields. KAP allows quick identification of such problems. Photo © by R. Douglass.
Filley Stone Barn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1873 by Elijah Filley and is located 2 miles south of Filley Nebraska. It is owned and managed by the Gage County Historical Society. On Oct. 17, 1999, the society hosted Filley Stone Barn Days, and this event brought in exhibitors from several states. Photo © by R. Douglass.

For further information, contact: Rich Douglass.

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Last update 12/99; © J.S. Aber and R. Douglass.