precision agriculture

5 Ways Drones Will Revolutionize Agriculture

The Albatross UAV

The Albatross UAV

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.

Drone Digest

Articles we’re digging this week from around the net:

1. Establishing a Drone Business with Part 107 in Agriculture by Johnathan Barns

via Commercial UAV News

via Commercial UAV News

The incentives to hone in on UAS consulting for agriculture are obvious: even part-time drone consultants can make $20,000 to $30,000 per year serving an industry that is always plagued by weather-related variables. Some of the most successful drone consultants make six figures or more.

2. These Drones And Humans Will Work Together In Hurricane Florence Recovery Efforts by Jennifer Kite-Powell

“Drones are increasingly used by emergency organizations to quickly collect reliable data from impacted areas that are unsafe or impossible for humans and other human-crewed vehicles to reach. This data allows response crews to identify which areas require immediate assistance, facilitate search and rescue efforts for survivors and survey damage for future rebuilding and insurance purposes.

3. State Farm Drones to Assess Hurricane Damage in First Approval

The flooding and other damage caused when Florence barreled ashore along the southeastern U.S. last week has become the latest proving ground for drones. Scores of them have been used by utilities, state and local emergency agencies, and others. They provide a bird’s eye view of damage or victims, and cameras and sensors can aid in mapping.

4. The use of drone-assisted remote sensing is ushering in an era of precision agriculture

A better understanding of the data and images gathered by the drone-borne instruments could lead to new ways for cranberry growers to detect insects and disease weeks sooner than traditional scouting forays on the ground. Such foreknowledge would allow them to treat threatened plants earlier and avert more widespread damage and crop loss, according to Luck. And because farmers would know more precisely where to spray, they could reduce pesticide use, which would be a major cost saver and a boon to ecosystems already overburdened by chemicals.