When you say the word “drone,” many people mistakenly believe this technology of the future is only utilized by highly technologically advanced companies. Just think of Amazon’s futuristic drone delivery robots. But in reality, drones are emerging as an incredibly helpful technology for many different industries.
And this definitely includes the agricultural sector. Drones are being used for a variety of purposes on farmland and cattle ranches, and considering the fact that U.S. agricultural production occurs in every state — amounting to 2.2 million farms nationwide — this can change the sphere of agricultural businesses for the better.
Here are three ways this technology can be beneficial for farmers and ranchers all over the country.
1. Soil and field analysis
Drones can be especially helpful for the beginning of the crop cycle, as they can let the farmer know the state of the soil before the crops are planted. They are able to produce precise 3-D maps for early analysis, which will be useful for figuring out seed planting patterns.
Already, scientists are experimenting with seed planting agriculture drones.
The average farm is around 435 acres, so using this affordable aerial technology will be able to help save farmers up to 85% in planting costs. The drones will do all the work for you! They will shoot the seedlings into the ground and proper nutrients into the soil. Future farmers won’t have to spend thousands of dollars hiring temporary laborers. With the money saved, family farmers can invest in additional farmland real estate to expand their field.
Since their fields are so vast, it can be hard for a farmer to keep an eye on their farmland’s soil quality. So drones that have hyperspectral, multispectral, or thermal sensors will be able to identify what parts of the field are dry and need extra care.
Additionally, drones are able to calculate the vegetation index of the crops once they start to sprout. This describes the relative density and health of each crop, down to each individual plant. This technology can also capture the heat signature, which is the amount of heat the crop emits. Both of these factors are crucial to overall prosperity of the plants, and with early aerial detection, drones could help farmers prevent a bad harvest.
It’s incredible what drones can already do for farmland cultivation. These are just a few of the benefits for ranchers and agriculture scientists. For those with large amounts of farmland on their hands, drones help keep a watchful eye on the fields.
In just a few more years, even more exciting uses are sure to be discovered for agriculture drones.
See some great footage of ranches and farms for sales shot with drones.