Between online articles, news stations, and social media platforms – it has been said countless times that drones are revolutionizing many industries. However, flying commercial UAVs in agriculture are especially interesting in how they are revolutionizing the way farmers do their job. For farmers, monetary success mainly depends on the climate and weather – something that farmers can’t control. Flying commercial UAVs allow farmers to take the human error out of decision making and collect critical information for the growing process – which can all lead to better, more stable crops.
Smart Farming with Commercial UAVs
Precision agriculture, also known as smart farming, is based on the use of advanced technology to manage crops and increase the quantity and quality of agricultural foods while reducing the industry’s footprint. Flying commercial UAVs is the most widely used method of smart farming so far. After receiving a Part 107 certification to fly a commercial drone, farmers are able to use this method of smart farming to perform the top uses for agriculture drones (take a look below!).
How Flying Commercial UAVs Are Changing Agriculture
- Crop scouting – Instead of a worker walking up and down every crop aisle to perform a ground scouting, farmers can fly their crops for more accurate data and better efficiency. A drone has the ability to see and collect data better than a human can. Farmers can capture highly accurate images of their fields and cover hundreds of acres in a single flight.
- Decision making – With the use of drones, farmers can take the human error out of their decision making and base their decisions on computer analytics. With data-driven decisions, farmers can better determine things like whether or not to re-plant after a bad storm or crop loss.
- Marketing – This is a pretty simple way to utilize commercial UAVs. If you’re flying your drone to capture an agricultural assessment, you can also use the footage as a marketing tool on your website or social media platforms.
- Monitoring – Farmers can use a drone to monitor large fields and keep watch on multiple factors that can affect the farm’s bottom line. Environmental changes happen very quickly, which can quickly affect crop health. Different types of drone sensing technology can be used to monitor crop health by creating diagnostic images from light sensors.
- Field surveying – Aerial surveying can help a farms bottom line by collecting important information like nitrogen levels and irrigation data.
- Plant counting – With specific drone software, farmers can get a total plant count and plant loss with a quick flight of under 20 minutes. Certain software programs, like DroneDeploy’s, will stitch the images together and create a complete crop analysis.
- Plant health – Flying a drone can assess crop health by spotting things like inadequate fertilization or pests. The drone can track changes in the crops health which will then help the farmer’s response time. Assessing plant health by flying commercial UAVs will also help the farmer document losses in the instance of crop failure.
- Irrigation management – Using drone technology equipped with payloads like thermal sensing systems will allow farmers to spot out the driest sections of the field. This way, water can be more efficiently allocated.
- Soil analysis – Farmers can use drone mapping to create 3-D maps of their fields to plan a specific seed planting pattern based on the soil analysis. This will help with precision farming and more accurate outputs.
- Vineyards – In the past year many vineyards, especially Wine Country in Northern California, have purchased and launched multiple drones. They have been utilizing drones in various operations to analysis their grapes and make better wine.
The future of drones in agriculture is only going to continue to get better with technology and present more and more benefits to the industry. If you’re an agriculture professional looking to use drones, you can start by taking DARTdrones Part 107 classes. For more information on how to get your Part 107 certification and expert drone training, visit secure.dartdrones.com or call us at 800-264-3907!
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