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Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Drone Usage in Nursery

Dr. James Robbins & Dr. Joe Mari Maja

Time and Session Location

2:45 pm - 3:45 pm

Magnolia C

CEUs Available (Pending Approval)


Dr. James Robbins & Dr. Joe Mari Maja


included with conference ticket

What You Will Learn:

This 1-hour session will focus on how drones can be used in nurseries including plant inventory, chemical applications, marketing & sales, asset tracking & management and crop monitoring, Attendees will learn about types of aircraft & sensors and flight regulations. This presentation should help participants make improved decisions to match the best drone system with their needs. Speakers will be Dr. James Robbins, University of Arkansas (retired) and Dr. Joe Mari Maja, a research sensor engineer with Clemson University.

More About the Presenter (s):

From 1989 until his retirement in January 2022, Dr. Robbins was an Extension specialist in commercial ornamentals at the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. His role was to support all Green Industry businesses including garden centers, wholesale growers, and landscapers. His research program focused primarily on nursery production-related issues (e.g. automation, growing media, fertilizer, weed control) and woody plant evaluation. For the past 13 years, he has been primarily focused on applications for drones in nursery production.

With a research focus on emerging technologies for agriculture, Joe Maja, Research sensor engineer in the Edisto-REC and Asst. Professor of Agriculture Sciences department looks to bring technologies forward to aid in optimizing farm operations. Addressing current and future potential problems for farmers, he seeks to provide solutions through technological innovations – sensors to monitor crop health (e.g., soil moisture), robotics (selective harvesting), and unmanned systems (drones to aid in real-time inventory management). Maja’s research in intelligent Agri-Tronic devices includes the ability to analyze data and address necessary interventions to improve operations processes and crop health and allow for increased automation of farming systems. Through his newly designed technology, like soil moisture sensors, farmers can address needs based on real-time data. His sensor research also includes an online dashboard, providing environmental variable monitors, like soil moisture, and set levels. Hence, the system knows if and when to trigger irrigation or other automated processes. Farming automation also includes drones and robotics, and Maja’s research includes developing and using these in inventory management, aerial spraying, and selective harvesting. His work with drones focuses on using RFID readers to assess inventory in a field or nursery and using drones for aerial spraying of pesticides, with the ability to target specific areas. In robotics, Maja is testing robots for selective harvesting, so crops are picked at their peak throughout a field, even if the entire field is not yet ready to be harvested.

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