It has only been within the last 100 years that farming has moved away from animal power, and now it’s evolving yet again. Drones are the latest tool to enter farming, and the potential they have in the industry is massive.
Agriculture is fast becoming the biggest marketplace for drones. Economically, they are far more cost-efficient than employing labour, and they do a far more precise job. Where an employee once had to walk the fields to collect data, on-board sensors now have the potential to scan for health problems within crops, monitor hydration and track growth rates. The Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International recently released a report that stated with the rise of drone use, 34,000 manufacturing jobs and 70,000 new jobs would be created in the United States alone. Of the prospective market, agriculture is set to make up roughly 80%.
Missouri farmer Mike Geseke spoke to The Seattle Times about how he pictures using a drone to inspect the irrigation pipes on his farm, a job that he currently has three employees dedicated to. “The savings on labour and fuel would just be phenomenal’, Geseke says.
Recently, The American Farm Bureau and Measure produced a study that was able to identify and quantify the specific benefits of drone technology in agriculture in three main areas. These included field crop scouting, 3D terrain mapping, and crop insurance. Covering wheat, corn and soybeans, the collected data shows US farmers the potential ROI in each of these areas. For example, ROI in the crop scouting area is expected to be $12 per acre for corn, $2.60 per acre for soybean, and $2.30 per acre for wheat. Calculated, this data shows that farmers could be saving millions by employing drones as their next farm hand.
The evidence is clear and the propellers are in motion; drones are about to take over the agriculture industry. Find out more about what you can do with drones in our recent blog: 5 Unexpected Uses for Drones and subscribe to our newsletter for more UAV news!
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