According to a study conducted by Informa Economics and Measure, corn, soybean and wheat farmers could save an estimated $1.3 billion dollars annually by utilizing drones. The report claimed that the biggest beneficiaries would be corn farmers as they could save a huge $11.58 per acre and could see an increase of crop yields by about 3.3 percent. These incredible statistics might sound too good to be true, but we are here to let you know that agricultural drones really do have amazing features that can save you lots of money.
Drones have really come a long way since when they were first designed. Originally built for surveillance and military operations, these unmanned aircraft have found many different uses over the years. An incredible way of accumulating intelligence in an area too dangerous for men and women, they can fly into enemy territory and provide incredible video footage of possible threats. They have then been modded and redesigned for more recreational use. Drones have now found their way into people’s homes, they make brilliant gifts for anyone looking for a fun and exciting flying experience. As soon as they became widely available to the public, people began to see the potential in drone racing. This has now become an incredibly exciting sport, going from strength to strength and gaining more and more attention from all over the world. Feel free to read more about drone racing here. However, one of their more surprising uses is in the agricultural world. Robust, intelligent and packed full of hi-tech features, agricultural drones have the ability to make a farmer’s life easier and we are here to explain why.
WHY DRONES HAVE MADE SUCH AN IMPACT IN AGRICULTURE
There are many reasons as to why drones have had such a positive impact in the agricultural industry. Farming is truly back-breaking work, early hours and long days make for a hard day’s work, so the invention of something that can help lighten the load will always be welcome within the farmer community. Agricultural drones not only help with the workload but can actually help boost a farm’s performance. Although it sounds too good to be true, it really isn’t and we are here to show you why this is indeed true.
Ensuring the health of a crop is, of course, an absolute priority for any farmer. A more unorthodox way of monitoring a crop is by using a drone’s camera abilities. A drone measures a crops health by looking at changes in visible light and near-infrared light reflected by the crops. Depending on how healthy they are, plants reflect different amounts of visible green and near-infrared light.
Viewing this from the air provides the user with the chance to expose any possible problems which can’t be seen from the ground, such as pest and fungal infestations. Another fantastic feature on an agricultural drone is the infrared camera feature. This, combined with the normal images can perfectly highlight any differences between healthy and unhealthy plants, which can’t always be seen by the naked eye. There is also a converter in the camera, if it has been upgraded, which can measure the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) of a crop, giving an incredibly precise and detailed image of the density and health of the vegetation. Not only this, but some drones also have an ultraviolet image setting meaning the farmer can see another level of distress in the plants.
A truly sad fact is that, in South Africa, there are so many farm murders each year that farm security needs to be a top priority. Not only to protect your crops and produce but also to protect yourself and family from any possible harm. A huge benefit of agricultural drones is that they are equipped with thermal imagery. Using temperature, thermal drones can detect humans or animals in a crop that could be hidden from sight. Having a drone that not only helps to look after your farm but also protects it is something that all farmers could really benefit from.
It may seem obvious, but a drone can provide views of the farm that the owner may have never seen before. Not only do they display an incredible aerial view, but also record in HD, meaning the farmer can watch the high-quality footage as much as they want and find out where needs work.
DRONE MAPPING & CROP DUSTING
Agricultural drones have the ability to dust crops on a completely unique and bespoke path. Working through an autopilot feature, once the drone’s flight path has been mapped out it can be left to its task, which it will then do efficiently and effectively. Prescription maps are also there to inform the farm owner what the farm needs, such as increasing or decreasing nitrogen spread on unhealthy spots. Drone mapping has the potential to improve a farm’s productivity and ensure that only quality and healthy crops are grown. It has also never been easier thanks to the Drone Deploy app, available for Iphone and Android users. Free and easy to use, the app perfectly captures data any farmer needs and includes 3D modelling and high-quality interactive maps. Compatible with the latest DJI drones, it allows the user to fly autonomously with just two taps of their phone.
So, if you are thinking of getting a drone to help with your farm then a drone which perfectly combines all of these features is the DJI AGRAS MG-1. Purpose-built to deliver maximum efficiency, reliability and longevity, it can cover 7-10 acres an hour and can carry up to 10kg of liquid payloads. Its speed and power allows it to effectively cover an area of 4,000-6,000 m² in just 10 minutes which is up to 60 times faster than manual spraying options. Not to mention the Phantom 4 and the Phantom 4Pro + with DroneDeploy which is perfect for mapping. Powerful, reliable and advanced, the Phantom 4Pro boasts a sharp 4K camera and a 5-direction obstacle sensor, which makes it intelligent enough to navigate its way through any kind of farm. DJI are famous for making some of the best and most impressive drones around, and that is no different with any of these.
Agricultural drones are there to not only help lighten the workload on a farm but also increase the amount of produce. If you have any questions on how these can help you, please feel free to get in touch with us by either email or phone:
Guest Contribution by Smashtronics