Thanks to a high-tech (and high-flying!) innovation, oat farming is set to become more efficient than ever. The UK-based Opti-Oat research project is using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to help boost future production and quality of oat crops.



GUIDING GROWERS FROM ABOVE

Opti-Oat was launched in early 2015 and brings together a consortium of leading industry and academic partners, led by PepsiCo, to help oat growers meet the rising demand for high-quality, food-grade oats. The data gathered by the UAS, which are essentially remote-controlled mini-copters equipped with special cameras, will make it easier for growers to maximize productivity. Here’s a look at the process:

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QUAKER REAPS WHAT IS SOWN

As one of the largest producers of oats-based products in the world, PepsiCo’s Quaker brand has a keen interest in helping oat growers get the best possible yield from their crops.

“Opti-Oat will ultimately provide oat growers with the ability to gather field-wide intelligence on the status of their crop and translate that into practical management advice to maximize yield and quality,” says Mac McWilliam, senior scientist on PepsiCo’s Agro Discovery and Sustainability team.



INNOVATION IS IN THE AIR

Co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, and BBSRC, the Opti-Oat project isn’t just good for business: It’s expected to lead to long-term benefits for consumers and the environment as well.

“This will be a win for the farmer who benefits from higher yields, a win for environmental sustainability by growing more with less, and a win for PepsiCo with a more resilient supply,” says McWilliam. “PepsiCo is proud to be the lead industry partner in a world-class research consortium on this project.”

To learn more about PepsiCo’s innovative environmental sustainability efforts, visit: http://www.pepsico.com/Purpose/Performance-with-Purpose.