Uses and Benefits of Drones in Agriculture

Unmanned aerial vehicles also known as drones have been used in various areas since 1980. Today, however, practical uses of drones are increasingly expanding in many industries thanks to the relaxation of some rules governing the use and investments. Due to the rapidly changing technology, companies are creating new operating models for drones. Agriculture is among the most likely areas where drone provides the potential of addressing significant challenges. With the world’s population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 and agricultural consumption projected to increase, producers must embrace new strategies for producing more food and making sustainability a priority. With some planning and strategy, drones will give agriculture a new technology makeover. Here are the top five ways in which people use drones in agriculture

Crop monitoring

Low efficiency and vast fields are some of the largest obstacles when it comes to farming. These challenges are further exacerbated by unpredictable weather conditions which drive maintenance costs and risks. Previously, satellite provided the best form of monitoring. Due to this, services were very costly, and images quality suffered a great deal. Today drones can be used to reveal production inefficiencies and show the precise development stage of crops.

Monitoring Plants with Drone

Credits: CIAT

Field and soil analysis

Drones can be very useful during the onset of the crop cycle. They produce the best 3D maps for soil analysis that can be used in planning. After planting, this analysis can provide the best data for nitrogen level management and irrigation methods.

Health assessment

It’s critical to analyze crops health to see if there are any fungal or bacterial infections. By scanning crops using drone carrying devices you can identify which plants reflect different amounts of NIR light and green light. This information can provide multispectral images that monitor changes in plants and show their health. As soon as any sickness is discovered, farmers can use the best remedies to save the plants. Also, in the case of crop failure farmers will document losses more accurately so as to apply for insurance claims.

Planting

Many farmers have created drone farming systems that have decreased costs by up to 85 percent. These systems plant nutrients into the soil and shoot pods with seeds thereby providing the plants with all the nutrients that they need.

Irrigation

Drones are having multispectral, thermal and hyperspectral sensors and can identify which parts of the field needs irrigation. Also, once the crops are growing, drones can detect the circulation of vegetation index which shows the heat signature and the amount of energy that the plant emits.

Crop spraying

Drones can also be used to analyze the ground and spray the correct amount of spray or liquid. This results in the reduction of many chemicals penetrating the soil. According to experts, aerial spraying is five times much faster than the traditional machinery.

Flying Eye

Flying Eye Drone

Benefits of drones in agriculture

  • Increased yields – Drones can be used to find yield limiting problems with a lot of ease.
  • Save time – You can use drones to save time while scouting for your crops.
  • Return on investments – Drones can improve your ROI by giving you the information that you need on time.
  • Ease of use – While they can be difficult to set up, with modern standards they are very easy to use.
  • Crop health imaging – They can help you to see the real health of your plants by seeing the amount of sunlight being absorbed by the plant.

The future

In future, it’s expected that UAVs will involve autonomous drones that could handle agricultural problems collectively as well as hybrid drones that could be used to perform a variety or tasks at once. Overall, drones are currently very useful in agriculture and other industries.

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