How Drones Are Helping Aussie Farmers

Farm Tender Aug 28, 2017

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are not a new concept and have been used commercially since the 1980s. However, we are just now seeing a boom in their use for a number of industries, agriculture being among them.

But are these just for tech lovers who look for any excuse to use the latest advancements, or is there some logic and benefits to embracing technology on your farm? Here we’ll take a look at some uses for drones in agriculture to help you make up your mind.

Helping farmers with small teams

For those tackling their farm with limited help, a drone could be a welcome addition. This can be great for farmers with a large space to cover, as a single flight could provide you all the information you would need in a matter of minutes as opposed to checking out each space yourself while travelling on foot or tractor.

Drone mapping

Using infrared mapping abilities and the normalised difference vegetation index mapping method, farmers can use their drones to efficiently and effectively determine the health of their crops. Basically, this method identifies those areas that have live green vegetation. Unlike satellite versions, drone maps can give you a more detailed resolution as they measure in centimetres, not metres.

Assess crop health in an instant

We don’t need to mention how important regular assessment of crops are for farmers to ensure they are getting the most out of their efforts. Drones make this task a whole lot easier. This technology is now super effective at collecting the data you need, allowing you to quickly identify problem areas and ensure a speedy response that can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful vineyard, orchard or crop.

Be smarter about plant care

Drones can also be fitted with some extras that offer even more benefits, such as thermal or hyperspectral sensors that will identify parts of a field that are dry or need attention. With the right information readily at hand, you can adjust irrigation as required and be smarter about your water usage. This is a massive benefit for Australian farmers as we are in a country known for our droughts.

As well as saving water, you may also be able to limit or better utilise your fertiliser, reducing excess runoff that can affect nearby areas.

This is just the beginning of course, and there are options that could take care of even more such as spraying and planting. It all just depends on how much you would like to spend and if the value far outweighs that cost.


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