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Use of drones can really help southwest Florida citrus growers

In recent years, the Florida citrus industry has suffered a staggering decline due to several problems, including citrus greening, damage from hurricanes, and a dwindling demand for orange juice. Still, the work must go on. University of Florida researchers near Immokalee have developed a new technology using drones to help growers save money and be more efficient.

Yiannis Ampatzidis, an associate professor for UF: “We developed this software, we call it Agroview, that gives you a lot of information about your farm.”

The technology combines drone imaging, ground imaging, and artificial intelligence. It can do everything from taking inventory of fields – identifying the height and health of trees – to nutrient analysis, to now even predicting the crop yield with precision.

“The accuracy was 90 percent plus,” Ampatzidis said of the initial research. “It can be 95 percent, it can be 98 percent.”


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