Drones and Agriculture
Guest post by Sarah Schiff from dronesinsite.com
Agriculture drones are a part of the billion-dollar drone industry. Agricultural drones help farming and cultivation by changing the way that farmers handle their business. There are hundreds of manufacturers creating drones for many uses, and usually drones are talked about as hobby drones or “war drones”. But agricultural drones add to the industry by advancing and improving the way farmers take care of their land and crops. These drones have the ability to check storm damage, check to make sure crops and herds are healthy, and monitor the progress of it all. New and very advanced drones are making huge impacts on the agriculture industry.
Using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for these purposes is aiding in precision agriculture. Precision agriculture is a concept used by farming management that uses drones to measure, observe, and respond to variability in crops. The practice of precision agriculture has been enabled by the advent of GPS and GNSS, which agriculture drones support. The goal of precision agriculture is to efficiently apply a farm’s limited resources to gain maximum yield, through methods like minimizing variability of crop health across fields. Drones support the technology precision agriculture requires. This type of agriculture needs a lot of data to work with, like geo-tagging images.
Using drones in agriculture is an extremely efficient way to monitor land. First, it’s an aerial view, so everything can be seen, and no damage is missed from this point of view. Agriculture drones are the best camera drones. Drones can also scope out the entire land several times a day, which would cost a lot of money and time in human labor. Drones capture vivid aerial images to help farmers create maps for scouting their crops. GPS and GLONASS systems are being used for farm planning, field mapping, soil sampling, tractor guidance, crop scouting, variable rate applications, and yield mapping. GPS allows farmers to work during low visibility field conditions such as rain, dust, fog, and darkness.
Some things to consider when buying an agricultural drone. It is best to really learn how to properly use such an advance machine, or hire a professional to do the navigating and image taking. You want a drone that’s ready-to-fly, equipped with the latest software (like GPS), have the right sensors and hardware that allows the drone to check crops, livestock, and survey the land. They are smooth and stable, allowing them to collect data in heavy rain and wind, while hovering over exact points. They are able to carry a heavy payload, which means flying with better cameras and other equipment.
Agricultural drones on the market
DJI Matrice 100
One of the leading drone companies, DJI, created a quadcopter for agriculture purposes. Battery life is 40 minutes, and it has dual battery compartments for extended flight times.
Standard features include: GPS, flight controller, and DJI Lightbridge that helps navigate through even the most difficult of tasks, and in turn allow the pilot more time to focus on flight.
It’s compatible for all level flyers. If you are a farmer, we suggest getting to really know the drone so your work is at its most efficient.
DJI Agras MG-1
Another agriculture drone by DJI is the Agras MG-1. The Agras MG-1 is an impressive octocopter. The main feature of the Agras is that it sprays large areas of farmland with pesticides or fertilizers. It can cover an extraordinary amount of distance quickly – 4,000-6,000 m² in just 10 minutes. DJI claims that it is 40-60 times more efficient than manual spraying. This saves famers a lot of time and money. It regulates its spraying based on how fast it is moving. And it handles harsh weather too.
Lancaster Precision Hawk
The Hawk has major precision agriculture capabilities. It offers topography mapping, weather and temperature profiles, fast disease detection and drainage estimations.
It has many sensors for humidity, temperature, pressure and incident light. It manages crops and livestock by collecting data resolutions up to 1cm/pixel. It interfaces through Wifi, Ethernet, USB, analog, and Digital.
Along with these drones being pioneers for agriculture, they are great for land conservation, and better crop yielding, for a more productive future in farming.