Agricultural biotechnology company Benson Hill Biosystems, The Photosynthesis Company, is partnering with PrecisionHawk to apply aerial imaging for the analysis of crop photosynthesis in the field and prediction of crop performance and yield.
‘Increased crop yield is the most important trait in modern breeding and agricultural biotechnology,’ says Tom Brutnell, chief scientific officer of Benson Hill Biosystems. “Today, however, it is still a challenge to monitor relevant photosynthetic parameters of crops in the field and to correlate those data with crop performance and crop yield.”
Christopher Dean, CEO of PrecisionHawk, says, “UAVs are changing the way businesses approach crop research by providing a way to collect aerial data cheaper and more efficiently than ever before.” PrecisionHawk, which operates out of offices in Indianapolis; Raleigh, N.C.; and Toronto, provides an end-to-end solution for aerial data gathering, processing and analysis to clients across a wide range of civilian industries.
“Genotype by Environment (GxE) interactions are complex under varying field conditions, and novel technologies are required to untangle the problem,” Brutnell explains. “We believe that coupling PrecisionHawk’s UAVs and remote sensing platform with our deep expertise and focus on crop photosynthesis, physiology and yield will help unlock the complex question of how photosynthesis affects crop productivity under field conditions and, ultimately, accelerate modern breeding and agricultural biotechnology.”
“The success of remote sensing-based phenotyping and modeling will depend on a clear understanding of crop physiology and environmental factors, and better aerial information will allow us to further understand the cause and effect relationships of crop development,” Dean adds. “This is a huge step forward in promoting innovative solutions across the agricultural industry.”