Herd inventory

Flown by John Scott, Digital Agriculture Extension Coordinator, Purdue Extension

We are counting livestock using a stitched image from 300 feet up. On the ground, it is easy to locate animals in the recently grazed paddock (middle) but difficult in the newly opened paddock (right) due to vegetation height. Using this aerial image, we were able to quickly and safely get an entire herd count.

300 foot high image of cattle herd in grassy field blue dots used to identify each

Here we are trying to collect a head count for inventory, but this image shows a major lighting challenge when dealing with structures. In the top image, we can only identify cattle near the feed bunk in the sunlight. The bottom image shows how adjusting exposure in the camera settings lets us see into the shadows. This is an operational call to strike a balance in image quality.

cattle drone images one without and one image with high-contrast set to reveal cattle

By adjusting camera setting during flight, we quickly located a cow-calf herd in the shade at the Feldun Purdue Agricultural Center. Also located, but not pictured, was a small group of heifers.

cow-calf herd in field tree shade at the Feldun Purdue Agricultural Center

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