UAVs in Multi-Disciplinary Agricultural Research and Outreach: Cutting-Edge Technology for Real World Challenges

The internship will support researchers and extension professionals utilizing drone technology to develop innovative management strategies that allow producers to optimize production, reduce costs, and protect the environment. The team will utilize the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drone) around two primary Research Foci in regard to challenging issues in Western Colorado, such as the need for enhanced crop production systems, innovative sustainable agriculture and food systems, increasing resilience to climate change, protection of environmental resources, and efficient use of water resources. The value proposition of this project is to expand the capability and influence of CSU, by equipping our Western Colorado units to engage in UAV-enabled research and training projects that are disadvantaged by the lack of training in this technology. The team will work to develop expertise, training and application of drone imagery to provide farmers with immediate feedback on crop health, water stress, and pest pressure. One objective of the project will be to utilize drone technology throughout the summer, developing an understanding of spectral signatures, energy footprints, crop stress behavior and targeted evaluations necessary to fully apply these tools at broader scales. Another objective will be to train local producers in the applicability of these tools to their current management experiences and farming needs. Lastly, a third objective will be to develop Extension and Engagement materials meant to capture the lessons we have learned through the summer and contribute to the body of knowledge that exists on the primary CSU campus.

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