How to Use a Drone for Farming

 

There are many ways to utilize the high tech features of a drone. Some fly them as hobbies, others customize and build them. Plenty of people also use them for work, and this is not only applicable to aerial photographers — Farmers can benefit greatly from the use of drone technology.

The agricultural field is one of the oldest known to man. While drones have reached an uprising in the more recent years, the two combined creates an efficient and effective way to get farming done. Commercial drone use is an ever-growing subculture in an already bustling field.

A History

At the start of commercial drone usage a few years ago, the cost was one of the biggest factors. It often wasn’t feasible for farmers to purchase these devices to do the same work that they can already do with their bare hands. Drones back then cost a whopping $10,000-$30,000!

Not to mention, software and technology have also made huge leaps in advancement. If a drone were to break or malfunction in the past, it wasn’t as easy to fix. This is a reason why farmers didn’t want to pursue the technology.

If a farmer were to utilize a drone to help with field work, he had to be the one responsible for mapping out its path. Understandably, this is the knowledge that not everyone naturally possesses. This type of mapping could often take several days to complete.

This was the situation only five years ago, shedding light on the amount of advanced agricultural technology has seen. During this time, drones were already to record the high-quality level of photos and videos that they can now, but farmers did not know how to utilize this data. It was up to those creating the drones to bridge a gap between obtaining the information and passing it along to those who needed it.

As the years passed, the prices on drones dropped. It suddenly became way more possible for way more people to own a drone. This was one of the ways that agricultural drone usage was kick-started.

These devices had long battery life, efficient motors, and the same advanced technology. They also became equipped with more user-friendly mapping features. Now, farmers are able to keep track of their crops without trying to play the role of the programmer, as well.

Though the industry is still rapidly changing, companies are aware that these farmers can also benefit from drone use. Connecting these dots have made it possible for the agricultural industry to continue with their own advancements, as well. Now, tasks can be completed with the help of technology that can be used with a simple push of a button.

Agricultural Drone Spraying

Some drones are made for the specific purpose of spraying entire crops. With large crops growing even larger, being able to make sure that the entirety gets sprayed can be a very time-consuming task for farmers. Drones are efficient and much faster at this, able to cover much more space in a much shorter amount of time.

With the use of the pre-programmed maps, drones are able to fly on courses that are designated. They are equipped with spraying tools that can release amounts of weed killer over the crops. Keep in mind though, using a drone for spraying pesticides is not yet legal in every part of the world.

The laws and regulations regarding this matter are still being voted upon to this day. Some see the use of drones for spraying as a helpful and efficient way to ensure the health of a crop while others see this as a danger to human (and animal) health.

Farmers that are able to utilize the technology for spraying are mostly on the same page — They love how much time is saved by relying on technology. Because the flight paths can be pre-programmed, there isn’t even much else that needs to be done except for setting up the path and filling the canisters. Radar sensors are built in to ensure that the drone stays within the perimeter of the crops.

Because drones travel from above and are so compact, farmers have found that these spraying drones can reach places where even tractors cannot. The precision and accuracy of a drone are meant to protect the environment. Many that use drones for these purposes still keep the consequences in mind.

Countries that utilize this technology boast that they have had more successful crops. Some even use the drones to drop fertilizer for additional success. Since there is an increase in growth, farmers also see an increase in profit.

The imaging systems attached to these drones can also utilize technology that can spot deficiencies in soil and crops. By providing these different views and angles, farmers are able to save time, money, and resources.

Benefits of Agricultural Drones

As previously mentioned, having drones in the fields results in healthier crops. With a higher turnover rate, this makes the farmers more money and provides consumers with more produce. Using an agricultural drone correctly can create a domino effect of positive farming.

Aside from this, with the various imaging technology that is available, drones can also diagnose problems found in soil that aren’t able to be spotted with the naked eye. If an area in the very middle of a crop is impacted, a drone will be able to pick it up faster than a human on a machine. This analysis can better help with predictions for the crops to come.

Just as drones come with the ability to spray pesticides and fertilizer, there are also some that allow for assistance with planting. A drone that is capable of shooting seeds can spread them out over vast areas of land. This detail-oriented work becomes a whole lot easier by using a pre-programmed device such as a drone.

Monitoring the crops is a big part of farming; there are several factors that can cause a crop to fail. Farmers have to ensure that the soil is healthy, animals aren’t eating the sprouts, and everything is growing at the rate that it should. This is a lot to keep up with, and utilizing the video capabilities of a drone flying over is proven to be very helpful.

Infrared technology is useful for many instances, and farming is actually one of them. Bacteria can often reflect different types of light if found lingering on plants. A drone with the ability to scan in infrared will be able to pick up on this.

Farmers are able to stay one step ahead, quickly treating infected areas or isolating them so that healthy areas do not become impacted. This precision is the key to showcasing how drones utilize technology for practical purposes.

Agricultural Drones India

India is one country that welcomes drone usage in their agriculture. They see these drones for all of the efficient qualities that they have to offer. Even so, the country has laws in place regarding the way that these drones can and cannot be used.

Much like civilian drones, agricultural drones are not meant to fly into largely populated areas. You will not see a spraying drone flying through a crowd of people due to the health risk that it contains. Privacy of the people must be respected at all times.

Another no-fly zone for agricultural drones is at or near airports. No drone is allowed within 5 kilometers of an airport. The reasoning behind this rule is obvious, and it also ties into air safety laws.

Because most drones are equipped with high-quality cameras and recording devices, government buildings have also banned drones from flying. The same can be said for military facilities.

Just like any other vehicle, each drone must be identifiable. This extends beyond someone being able to see the drone physically; it means that all drones need to have license plates, just as cars do. India also requires all operators to be at least 18-years-old.

Multi-tasking is not something that needs to be done while operating a drone. To ensure safety, only one drone at a time is legal to be flown by a single operator. You must also have the proper training to fly one.

Drones need to be insured, and cannot be flown over sensitive areas such as wildlife parks or national landmarks. All of these rules are in place to benefit both the farmers and the citizens. Keeping this all in mind, most farmers in India believe that agricultural drones are helping the industry thrive.

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