Drones May Change The Face Of Your Farm

Posted on: 30 November 2014

Crop monitoring is one of the key ways to ensure your fields produce at their best, from the time you plant until the harvest season. New emerging technologies are simplifying and lowering the long-term cost, while providing the ability for more frequent surveillance.

Current Technologies

Most current crop monitoring methods leave a lot to be desired. They take time and can become expensive. Your two main options are:

  • Private aircraft flyovers. Although this allows you to get a birds-eye view of your fields and identify any areas that seem to be suffering, flight time is expensive.

  • Making the rounds on the ground. When you figure in the cost of fuel and the amount of time it takes to inspect the entire farm, this isn't always the wisest investment. Unfortunately, it's your only choice if you want to run soil or plant analysis tests to check for nutrient deficiencies, insects or disease problems. Although it's common practice to take samples from a few random locations, you may miss the area where a major problem is brewing if you have a large acreage planted.

Into the Future

Private agricultural drones can solve many monitoring issues. These small unmanned planes can capture the full aerial view of your farm, delivering the images to your spread's command center. All this may be for the fraction of the cost of hiring a private plane.

This allows you to locate problem areas more quickly and accurately, so you can head off any crop problems before they spread or compromise the entire planting. Drones can also be used for pre-harvest monitoring, resulting in less crop loss in the long run.

Drones can even be equipped with sensors that monitor moisture and other stresses to the plants, which can completely alleviate the need for venturing out to do onsite testing.

Where to Buy

Unfortunately, as of 2014 drones are only available in the United States for recreational use, so they aren't quite ready for the farm. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is currently testing the drones in some markets, so it may not be long before they will be available for use with your crops.

If you can't wait to try out this new technology, but you aren't in a test area, you can purchase a recreational drone. This will at least give you experience in flying and controlling the device, which is much like an advanced remote-controlled plane. These personal experiments will ensure you are ready for the time when agriculture drones for sale become more commonplace.