Master of Science (MSc)
Geography & Environmental Studies
Faculty of Arts
UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) are becoming more common place in agricultural sites around the world. While the accuracy of achieving NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) from a UAS is well understood, few studies have attempted to acquire other plant health attributes such as CWSI (Crop Water Stress Index), particularly in horticulture such as apple orchards. In addition, no academic studies up to the time of this writing have explored the perceived usefulness of data obtained from a UAS for the average farmer. This study explored the practicality and feasibility of using UAS for apple orchards in Southern Ontario. This study sought to find out if NDVI and CWSI can be accurately obtained from a UAS for apple orchards and if this data can be feasibly obtained and is practical for the average Ontario apple farmer. By flying a UAS over a volunteer orchard and conducting charrette style interviews with orchard owners with the obtained data, the results showed that data is indeed useful to the farmers, despite improvements needed for CWSI accuracy. However, this data is only useful during key times of the growing season and obtaining this data, while feasible, requires planning and logistics around weather and government red tape. This study has laid the ground work for future studies to use as a staging point to improve CWSI estimate accuracy, create new methods of observing health attributes or diseases in apple orchards, and obtain more information on the usefulness of UAS data for Ontario farmers.
Tiidus, Thomas S. Mr., "The Feasibility, Practicality and Uses of Detecting Crop Water Stress in Southern Ontario Apple Orchards with a UAS" (2016). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 1839.