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Photostory #506: A Farmer's Eye in the Sky

John Ough
National Film Board of Canada
Release Date
May 1, 1970
CMCP fonds
Credit Line
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archive
Main Text
In progress Photostory 1/7 : Canadian farmers may soon have the help of a camera-packing guardian angel in their annual task of battling crop diseases. This is expected to be in the form of a light aircraft patrol which will take frequent aerial photographs of agricultural areas suspected of becoming diseased. The photographs, developed within an hour or two, indicate affected areas through blotches of lighter or darker tones. And such pictures, taken at daily intervals, show where the disease starts, how it spreads and the direction of general movement. In this way farmers will have detailed information on where to combat the outbreak before it spreads through the whole crop. Agriculturalists envisage a control center which farmers telephone for instant crop reports. _x000B__x000B_The technique of using aerial photography for disease detection and measurement has been under development by federal scientists of the Canada Department of Agriculture during several past seasons. The work started as part of a nation-wide program to estimate disease losses, where, at the Ottawa Research Station, scientists study plant diseases in their laboratories and experimental field plots. Their work includes correlating the effects and percentage losses of various crops with the patterns and markings on aerial photos and the initiation of a computer system to control the mass of data needed for many common crops and the multitude of diseases that attack them. _x000B__x000B_As a method for accurately estimating the crop losses of the nation for vital overall economic studies the federal scientists have produced a valuable tool. For the farmer of the future they have paved the way for an information service that will fight disease and relieve crop farming of its biggest headache - unavoidable financial disaster striking from an unknown direction.