Out of all these optical sensor technologies — satellites, drones, active optical sensors — where should a person start? Well, that depends on your environment.

But some of the free satellite imagery is also some of the best multi-spectral crop stress detection stuff out there, because it can cover your entire farm with one satellite image. 

From a crop monitoring standpoint, and a low threshold as far as as cost goes, satellite imagery is one of the best entry points. To be more specific, there is one called Sentinel II, which goes over your field every 5 days. The imagery already comes in calibrated and it’s free. 

A lot of these different ag platforms out there today actually offer the imagery as a service, but they put a small charge for processing. But it’s still significantly cheaper than making a drone investment. 

If you learn how to use that satellite technology, your cost of entry is so low that you’re not exposed to a lot of risk. It gives you an easy entry to get your feet wet in figuring out how you can use it for the farm. 

Hear more from Dr. Ray Asebedo in our Strip-Till Farmer podcast series, sponsored by Topcon Agriculture