New Tech Archives - West Coast Nut

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Drone Adoption Grows as Technology Rapidly Evolves


Before drone technology became available farmers would have to procure images of their operations from satellite services or through the use of manned aircraft. In a relatively short period of time the cost, quality and sophistication of aerial image capture changed significantly. What began as somewhat of a novelty has grown into a full-fledged industry that continues to become more advanced every year. While drone technology initially developed outside of the agricultural sector, it did not take long to realize that many of the features being utilized in other industries could be applied on farming operations. An increasing number of growers have been purchasing their own drones or employing drone services for a number of different applications on farms. As the drones themselves continue to evolve, allowing for further applications and better functionality, so too does the software side of things. A common issue for growers in recent years is...

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Use of Technology in Regulatory Functions

By Terry Brase | Director, Farm of the Future at West Hills Community College

As more and more technological devices and practices are developed, growers will continue to get  and more sales pitches. A walk through any conference exhibit hall is a small look at the huge market that is ag technology. It is a very competitive market and these companies and developers are not only fighting for the investor’s dollar, they are competing for the growers sales dollars. Developers and their marketers must provide justification to the grower for their products. If the market is to support the product, it must have a specific benefit to the grower. Benefits of Technology The obvious benefit is the economic value. The grower and the investor, want to know that they will get a return on their investment. The investor wants a return along with interest and the grower wants to increase income and/or reduce costs within a two to three years span of time in...

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Solar Systems in Agriculture

The Future of Solar in Agriculture

By: Kathy Coatney, Editor

There are changes coming to solar in next few years. One of the big changes is the investment tax credit.

Investment Tax Credit

The Investment Tax Credit is a 30 percent credit at the federal level that is available in all 50 states for any type of renewable energy. In California, this is the primary incentive available, according to Chad Cummings, director of sales and marketing for JKB Energy. What this means is, if it’s a million dollar project the grower receives an immediate tax discount of $300,000, which is different than a write off, Cummings explained. “This is an actual credit against whatever you’re tax liability is,” Cummings said, adding it’s basically a 30 percent off price tag. This incentive has been available for years, but starting 2020 the percentage will start declining.  
  • In 2020 it will decrease to 26 percent.
  • In 2021 it will...

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an arial photo done by drones

UAV Research Shows Promise

By Kathy Coatney Editor

What do drones or UAVs, unmanned aerial vehicles, hold for the future for agriculture? Currently, there are three main uses for UAVs in nut orchards. 1. Multispectral imaging sensors that are mounted to the drone. In the past, the sensors were much larger and they had to be on a manned aircraft, then flown over an orchard. It was very expensive and could only be done a few times a year, but now there are compact sensors and growers can pilot the drones themselves. They can scan their orchards as frequently as they want for a fraction of the cost. And with the ability to scan the crop more frequently, they can evaluate crop health, and make better, more informed decisions. 2. Drones can create detailed GPS maps of an orchard using on-board cameras. From these images, orthomosaic maps can be created. Orthomosaic maps are smaller pictures that are stitched together...

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Remote Sensors

Remote Sensors for Precision Ag at West Hills College

By Terry Brase, West Hills College Precision Ag Instructor

In the previous article of this series, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) were discussed. For all of the attention that UAS get, it is just a piece of the puzzle. First of all the unmanned aerial vehicles are only one type of platform for capturing imagery; there are also satellites, manned flights, and ground based.  Second, platforms are not even the most important part of the puzzle. The imagery that shows how a crop is doing or provides information is the important part.  That leads us this month to the sensors or cameras that are used to capture the imagery. Sensors in agriculture should be a bigger deal than UAS, but they aren’t as cool so they don’t get all the headlines. They are like the guy that is in the background doing all the work, but doesn’t get the credit. Sensors are a big topic, so this is actually going...

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