In recent years, farms of all sizes have begun embracing more advanced strategies for streamlining their processes to increase output. Drone technology is a central figure of this technological revolution. The following are five ways that drones like the Albatross UAV can be used throughout the crop cycle:
1. Soil and field analysis: Drone’s can play a vital role in the daily life of the farm right from the onset of the crop cycle. When equipped with high-quality onboard sensors, they can produce precise 3-D maps of the farm. These maps can then be used to conduct early soil analysis as well as aid in the planning of seed planting patterns. Once crops are planted the data derived from drone imagery can be used for irrigation and nitrogen-level management.
2. Crop Monitoring: One of the biggest challenges that farms face is the sheer size of their vast properties. The challenges posed by this footprint is amplified by the increase in unpredictable weather conditions that can subsequently drive up maintenance costs and stall productivity. Drones allow for real-time monitoring that is far more accurate and cost-effective than previously used methods like satellite imagery. Platforms like the Albatross UAV, offer users custom tailored drone packages designed to monitor nutrients, moisture levels, and overall crop health.
3. Crop spraying: Distance measuring equipment allows a drone to adjust it’s altitude as topography and geography change, thus avoiding collisions. This same onboard technology can be used to assist with the task of spraying crops. Drones can scan the ground and in real time modulate distance from the field to spray the correct amount of liquid. The result is increased efficiency as well as a reduction in the number of chemicals penetrating the groundwater. Experts believe that aerial spraying will allow this task to be completed five times faster than if done with traditional machinery.
4. Irrigation: Drones equipped with hyperspectral, multispectral, or thermal sensors can identify areas that require changes in irrigation. Once crops have started growing, these sensors can calculate their vegetation index, an indicator of health, by measuring the crop’s heat signature.
5. Health assessment: By scanning crops with visible and Infrared (IR) light, drones can identify which plants may be infected by bacteria or fungus, helping to prevent disease from spreading to other crops. With Multispectral images, you can detect diseases and/or sickness before its even possible to identify it with a human eye, potentially amounting to substantial savings.
For more information on commercial drones, please visit www.appliedaeronautics.com.