Are you using drones in your agri business yet? If not, here’s five reasons why you should be.
Farming today looks incredibly different to operations twenty years ago. Gone are the days of guessing weather patterns and crop yields. Over the years we have seen the modern farmer utilising technology to his/her advantage to provide a more efficient farming process. Today, drones are playing a major part in modernising farming further and proving to save farmers money by increasing the efficiency of their farming methods, boosting their crop yields, improving their sustainability, reducing their risks, and providing more accurate data for their insurance companies should they ever need to make a claim.
Are you using drones in your agri business yet? If not, here’s five reasons why you should be:
1. High-resolution images for precision farming
Precision farming is key nowadays and drones are proving to be a very valuable tool in helping farmers to achieve their precision farming goals. Agri businesses often need to create accurate aerial imagery of a specific area and using drones is an extremely cost-effective, fast, and unquestionable way to achieve this. A drone’s high-precision GPS enables you to photograph the same area over time (hourly, daily, weekly, monthly) simply by programming the exact co-ordinates for the spot you want to study. The drone’s software then splices the images together to create a highly accurate, invaluable orthophoto. This birds-eye view will provide you with insights about subtle changes to your crop quality that you might not be able to see at ground level, as well as conditions that are often not visible to the human eye, such as pest infestations, water stress and fertilizer needs.
2. Precise spraying with drones
Drone usage is not just about taking photos and footage to forewarn farmers of changes to their crops. Many in the agricultural industry are using drones to spray crops, typically in areas where it would be difficult for machinery to do the job. Drones are used in this way to complement rather than replace traditional spraying methods whilst improving your sustainability. Their accuracy and efficiency in this capacity is phenomenal thanks to the use of sensors which can identify not just the plants you want to spray, but the specific parts of the to be sprayed. This precision means less money spent on spraying crops that don’t need spraying, and less of an environmental impact on nature living in your fields.
3. Beyond liquid sprays: application of granular materials
A drone’s use goes beyond the spraying of fertilizers and weedkillers too. Those in the know are using their spraying drones to reseed grassland, spread granular fertiliser, feed aquatic animals such as fish and shrimp, and many more uses besides. These jobs can be done remotely and autonomously, saving you more time and money.
4. Exact damage assessments
At a time when extreme weather is causing many problems for the agricultural industry, drones have proven to be a god send because they can be used to accurately assess the damage caused by different natural forces. The advanced sensors built into drones can estimate the extent of the damage caused by wildfires, storms, or other natural incidents, as well as use machine learning to estimate the number of missing or damaged crops. This means you can correctly assess the economic impact of any climate-related incidents and plan a precise replanting workflow for your crops. This data is also useful for any insurance claims you may have to make.
5. Environmental health assessment with drones
Drones are also able to help you with your sustainability footprint and reporting. You are now able to use them to not only precisely monitor how each operation is progressing in your fields, but also to assess the impact of your operations. Thus, enabling you to draw concrete conclusions and continuously refine your farming methods for a more efficient and sustainable outcome. In many situations, studies like these have revealed things farmers hadn’t previously thought would affect their yields. For example, drones can be used to test water in irrigation ponds, identifying potentially harmful bacteria or chemicals before watering the crops. They can also monitor irrigation systems for any potential leaks before it becomes an issue for crops.
Whatever the nature of your farming business, if you’re not already using them, drones are undeniably one of the next steps for you to consider revolutionising your agricultural practices and management. They are timesaving, money-saving, sustainability-enhancing, and provide invaluable data for both you in your everyday farming practices, and your insurance company if you ever need to make a claim. Just don’t forget to insure your drones!
Practice Leader for Food & Agri Hungary
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