With the sudden and recent rise of interest in the use of drones, farmers have quickly embraced the use of drones for agricultural purposes. Farmers are now able to quickly gather valuable information about their crops through the use of drones.
Farmers account for approximately 80 percent of the commercial market for drones. The reason behind this is the ease and speed in which agricultural data can be collected through the use of drones, which allows farmers to make better decisions in the management of their farms.
The use of drones for collecting agricultural data has created a new field of study called precision agriculture. The University of Minnesota has created a Precision Agriculture Center, which is the first in the world. Precision agriculture has become a growing field due to the increase in technology and its use by both researchers and farmers.
The use of drones allows farmers to closely monitor small areas of fields and tailor the amount of fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides they use on their crops and estimate the crops’ yield. Drones are preferred by farmers for these tasks because of their cost and effectiveness. They are much cheaper when compared to the costs of an airplane or helicopter.
Dr. Ernest Earon, president of PrecisionHawk, says that he predicts that drones will do for agriculture what cellphones did for telecommunications. Dr. Earon has developed a drone, the Lancaster drone, which has an AI that allows it to create its own flight path based on its surroundings. If the drone detects that a flight path is not feasible, it will return and land.
It is difficult for farmers to collect data because of the large areas over which their farms are spread. However, drones are able to collect that information in a very short amount of time. In fact, the Lancaster drone is capable of collecting data on a 120 hectare farm in approximately 40 minutes.
The drone is able to collect data, such as chlorophyll levels and the moisture levels of the soil. The drone is also equipped with multi-spectral sensors that are capable of detecting diseases in plants before they are physically visible, which allows farmers to take proactive measures towards their farm’s management. Better farm management results in a higher efficiency in crop production.
Although current drone legislation makes it difficult for farmers to use drones for agriculture, recent changes in legislation are expected to relax some restrictions, enabling farmers to use drones.
There’s no doubt that in the near future we will see an even higher use of drones in agriculture, which can only have a positive effect for farmers. We can also look forward to a little less noise from cropdusters!