Competitive Graduate Student Assistantship Program

Using drones to distribute leafy spurge biological control agents to small expanding patches of invasive weeds in northern New Mexico

Faculty Principal Investigator: David Thompson

Drones are rapidly becoming invaluable to agricultural consultants and growers as more innovative options are developed. Interest from private ranchers and growers, industry, state and federal agencies is growing exponentially. This project will evaluate the economics and viability of using a drone to distribute biological control agents against weeds in hard to reach, widely spaced locations. The ability to efficiently map expanding patchy populations of noxious weeds using drones is in itself a new powerful tool for land managers that will simplify monitoring the expansion or contraction of weed populations because GPS delineated flight patterns can be revisited as often as needed.