Precision Agriculture

Aerial monitoring for precision in plantation management

Using the data from geospatial mapping and monitoring systems, we’re able to manage our plantations in a more controlled and precise way than ever before From more targeted fertilizer use, to better water management, precision agriculture makes our increases in yield easier to realise, and our resource use more efficient.

We are replacing traditional, GPS-based mapping with technologies including drones and satellite imaging, which make mapping our plantations much faster and more powerful. For example, rapidly generated aerial images map the topography and help us understand how water is distributed across our estates. We use this knowledge of the landscape to design efficient water management and build canals and drainage areas in accordance with our needs.

In 2011, we partnered with the University of Florida to conduct the first multispectral imaging study in Malaysia. Since then, we’ve tailored our use of the imaging to help us identify the presence of disease in our palms.  In our nurseries, an overhead camera system traces any presence of the disease Ganoderma so that we can treat it while the plants are young. Across our estates, we can now manage outbreaks and reduce the spread of disease, allowing us to determine where to apply pesticides. So, precision technology means we are able to treat the palms in a targeted way, rather than through widespread, often unnecessary and expensive application of pesticides and fertilisers.

Monitoring technologies also enable us to be more precise in our harvesting processes. We can see which areas of the plantation need harvesting, getting quickly to the right palms to prevent fruit bunches from becoming overripe or even rotting. Getting to the ripe fruit quicker means it gets to the mill faster, avoiding the accumulation of free fatty acids in the fruit, which diminishes oil quality.

Knowing where to apply our efforts and doing so in a targeted and efficient way makes all the difference to our operations. Through precision agriculture, we’re increasingly able to focus our attention on the needs of each individual palm in Sime Darby Plantation. Using breakthrough technologies to ensure the best potential yield from each and every palm adds up to getting the best yield from the entire plantation.

Increasingly, we are able to focus our attention on the needs of each individual palm.



Find out more about our Breakthrough Innovation 
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