The AMS system can enable certain essential crop-production-management practices, in a safe and practical manner, that other systems cannot enable. The AMS system utilizes fundamental advances in airborne sensors and proprietary computer programs to provide weekly aerial imagery of crops. The technology generates the only consistent, reliable imagery available that rarely, if ever, misses a field problem, and never introduces "false stress" into the image. (See, Overview of AMS Technology.)
The AMS system detects all causes of stress including improper watering, fertility problems, plant nutrition problems, diseases and insects, non-optimum nitrogen application, local salt deposits, etc. As noted, it will also image characteristics of bare soils, is useful for irrigation scheduling and water management, and, will register appropriate changes that track each successive production-management practice in the field.
Based on testing in South Texas vegetables and citrus fields, the fieldman - after he is familiar with the techniques required for imagery-directed scouting with AMS imagery -- may be able to scout fields in less time than required by normal pattern scouting without imagery.
In the Fall of 2001, the unique capabilities of the AMS system were again verified for an entire cropping season in Brawley California, in head lettuce, on a USDA grant by academic and industry personnel.
Unlike other systems that are subject to masking of field problems by the atmosphere, the AMS system is not subject to masking caused by atmospheric "clutter". The system, which has a six foot pixel, is also several times more sensitive than conventional systems. Thus, it is unlikely to miss even small-area problems that stress the crop -- and provides the potential to detect field stresses in early or pre-visible stages.
Fieldmen using AMS imagery will rarely miss a field problem and will generally detect it in its early or pre-visible stage. Consequently, unlike other remote sensing technologies, AMS imagery can enable site-specific treatments (where applicable) in relative safety -- often before yield loss has occurred and before some vectors have spread out from their original sites of infestation.