What Are Farmers Using Drones For?Eric Merlin
It is remarkable how quickly humans adapt. The industrial revolution may seem like a long way away for us in the modern era. But, when you compare the span to the whole length of human existence, it is hard to see how little time has actually passed.
Still, even when we look at technology in general, the industrial revolution seems archaic, slow and outdated. Now we are harnessing new technologies like moldable gripping devices in our factories.
We have robots that can almost perfectly simulate four-legged movement, algorithms that can predict our shopping habits and tiny, ingenious flying helicopters that perform our basic activities.
Once upon a time, the combine, thresher and combustion engine were the best way for farmers to harvest their product more efficiently, work for longer without fatigue and transport their wares around the world. Now they are simply part of the daily routine of the business.
In fact, the farming industry, like many other industries, has become so integrated with the technology available that they continue to use it for improvements and further forward momentum.
Today, Fulcrum Air looks in detail at how farmers are using commercial drone services to get more from their land, improve their crop yields and prevent food disease.
Preventing Weeds & Disease
Preventing weeds and plant disease is one of the most common problems for farmers as these can lead to significant product loss if not properly managed.
Using commercial drone services, farmers can inspect their crops regularly and ensure that there are no visual or thermal changes to the crop and immediately investigate suspicious reports from the unmanned aerial vehicles.
Among the top concerns for modern farmers are maintaining cost projections and reducing resource use. Through near-infrared mapping, commercial drone services can determine the best and worst areas for fertilizer.
Afterwards, programming the tractor remains the only step in creating precision routes for fertilization, which ultimately reduces the total fertilizer consumption.
For vineyards and other large growing areas, simply looking at all of the plants can be difficult. With drone technology, however, the process is streamlined and farmers have more time to focus on problem areas and ensure consistency throughout their annual crop cycle.
With the help of commercial drone services, they are not required to pilot the drone either, further liberating their time and allowing them to pursue a deeper level of optimization for their growing efforts.
Believe it or not, all of the incredible applications noted above are only short-term solutions. Sure, they provide value and resources to the farmer, but they all get stuck at the same point—user input. User input is what most technological innovation is currently focused on reducing.
Consider this: a drone rises in the morning and completes a full survey of the fields. It notes several suspicious areas that require further inspection and sends a report.
Ordinarily, this report goes to the farmer, who reviews the findings and either goes to investigate the area for further information or gets their equipment ready to address the problem.
Now, instead, imagine that the drone sends off its report to another drone, or through the Internet of Things (IoT) to an automated tractor. This second device has shears, fertilizer or pesticide to address the identified problem and addresses it with no human interference.
In this scenario, the farmer still receives a report, but it happens at the end of the day and functions more like an executive summary of the data from all of the machines.
Which system would you choose, and which do you think is more efficient? With the power of commercial drone services just beginning to be explored, it is an exciting and wonderful world that humanity is marching towards.