Agriculture has always been one of the most crucial elements of human race survival. It was forecasted that agricultural consumption would increase by at least 60% due to the increase in population. Currently, modern technological trends in farming practices are being used on large-scale farms. However, some of these practices are not suitable for small landholdings in developing countries, and one of them is drone agriculture.
As such, meeting food demands in the future will seem like a tedious task for such countries. Concepts of advanced farming techniques need to be looked through and utilized into actual agricultural practices to optimize land spaces, maximize productivity, and stay sustainable. One of these concepts is to make use of precision agriculture drone machines that are fitted with data-gathering equipment.
You only need to look at the best drones review to check which one is perfect for you. But, let us first go through some of the basics.
Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have been used commercially since the 1980s. Today, the practical uses of UAVs have expanded faster in a wide variety of industries, thanks to relaxing government regulations and robust technological advancements. Today, companies are creating new and improved UAVs for different sectors.
When it comes to precision agriculture, UAVs offer a wide range of implementations like pesticide spraying, planting, crop field analysis, etc. A precision agriculture drone can be used with different imaging technologies: thermal, multispectral, or hyperspectral. They can help the farmers understand better the information about growth bottlenecks, fungal infections, overall crop health, etc.
These UAVs also provide agriculture drone services like identifying drier regions in the field via drone agriculture mapping and the corresponding measures to irrigate the area with better techniques. Drone agriculture offers farmers accurate information that will enable them to make informed decisions and make more efficient uses of their resources.
Ways by Which Drone Agriculture Can Change the Face of This Industry
Agriculture drone companies are manufacturing UAVs only for agriculture; with this, they are ushering an agricultural revolution. The unmanned vehicle technology will help farmers deal with challenges like climatic changes, etc. Here are some ways by which drones can aid farmers.
Field and Soil Analysis
UAVs are quite useful to help obtain valuable data about the quality of the existing soil at the beginning, middle, and end of a crop cycle. With the help of these 3D images, you will be able to figure out if there is anything wrong with the soil quality, nutrient supervision, or dead soil zones.
Drone agriculture information can help you determine the most effective patterns and methods to use for planting the crops, managing them, looking after the soil, etc. Continuous monitoring will assist in better managing crop nutrient levels or utilizing water resources more effectively.
This aspect of agricultural UAVs is a comparatively newer technology and not used much for now. But, you will see a lot of different agriculture drone companies that are experimenting with drone planting. In short, we can say that the manufacturing bodies are exploring custom systems to shoot seed pots into prepared soil.
UAV companies are continuously developing unique agriculture drone software and technologies to assist a wide range of agricultural and ecological issues. For instance, there is a drone that is capable of delivering approximately 57 pounds of payload in the form of water, fertilizer, and tree saps.
With the help of drone agriculture, the need for on-the-ground planting techniques is minimized. These older methods were strenuous work that consumed a lot of time and was quite costly.
The same UAV technology can be applied to different types of farms, which will reduce overall labor expenses and planting time across the board.
Spot and Crop Spraying
For your crops to prosper, they need consistent spraying and fertilization. At first, this was done either by manual labor or by making use of vehicles and even airplanes. Apart from being burdensome, these methods were also costly and inefficient.
Today, you can make use of drones for agriculture drone spraying, thanks to the approval of the FAA. These UAVs are equipped with large storage units or reservoirs that can be filled with pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that hasten the overall agriculture drone spraying procedure. Some drones can even be programmed to function autonomously to run on specific routes and schedules.
For instance, drones can be used to spot fungus growth in a specific section of the field and quickly diagnose and treat the issue before it becomes a widespread problem.
One of the most significant advantages of drone use in agriculture is the effectiveness and ease of large-scale crop monitoring. With the help of drones, you will be able to sweep across your field and monitor the progress. They are equipped with sensors which capable of measuring light wavelengths, being reflected by the plants via color contrast pictures, which highlight the potential problem areas in the field.
These images include NDVI or normalized difference vegetation index. Surprisingly, NDVI has been long used by airplanes and satellites to calculate the ratio between visible and near-infrared light radiation. These sensors are also added with other resolution-enhancing tricks like filters and additional wavelengths in the light spectrum.
The resulting data can reveal injured crops and spot herbicide-resistant weeds between the crop rows. Today, works are being done on algorithms that can determine finer details like texture and leaf shape.
Irrigation Management and Monitoring
Irrigation is quite a troublesome task. With miles of areas to cover, problems are bound to happen. Drones are fitted with thermal cameras that can help in drone agriculture mapping. Thus, they can spot out problems that may interfere with irrigation or reveal areas that are receiving excessive or too little moisture.
With the help of this information, you will be able to layout plans to maximize drainage and avoid water pooling. You will also be able to hold on to the natural land runoff, which can prove to be damaging to sensitive crops.
Irrigation and water issues are not only expensive but can also ruin the crop yields as well. With the help of the resulting survey data from your precision agriculture drone, these problems can be spotted out before they become a huge problem.
Farmers and cattle ranchers can benefit from agricultural drones to monitor their livestock or survey weak spots on the fences with greater frequency and with less staff investment and time. Some of these drones are also fitted with night-capable cameras and HD-thermal imagers, so help lookout for predatory animals that are looking to ravage the herd.
The rancher or farmer can also check on the livestock to see if there are any missing or injured animals, as well as check on those giving birth.
Drone Agriculture: Launching a Career as a Pilot
When it comes to the best agriculture drone jobs, there is nothing more thrilling than becoming a drone pilot. It is quite easy to understand why there is so much excitement around. The agriculture drone market and businesses that have embraced drones will be more prosperous than those who haven’t. Hence, agriculture UAV pilots will become an essential asset to these companies and farms.
The field of drone agriculture work is still in its infancy. This is because the most significant limiting factor is the lack of trained pilots. However, if you wish to become a certified drone pilot, you can easily do so. With proper passion and training, you will be able to help transform the farming business and secure your place in a rewarding and lucrative industry.
What Is Next?
UAVs (drone agriculture) might involve swarms, or fleets of autonomous drones, looking further into the future. They will be able to tackle agricultural monitoring tasks collectively, act with hybrid-aerial drones to connect essential data and perform many different functions. However, many boundaries are slowing down the process like the safety of drone operations, etc.
Conclusion: To address these problems, agriculture drone companies are pushing for more sophisticated cameras and sensors and trying to make them as autonomous as they can. If you find an agriculture drone for sale, buy it, and experience the first-hand impression!
All in all, what do you think about drone agriculture? Let us know in the comments!
Richard Browny A former employee in the American corporate world. Self-employed consultant on all matters of agriculture. Richard studied in the Netherlands and Belgium and traveled to 41 US states so far.