Drones are transforming precision agriculture, an approach to agriculture management that looks at, measures and evaluates the requirements of individual crops and fields. More farmers are using drones in farms. With drones, they can monitor crops in a cost-effective way.
Agriculturalists use drones to capture pictures, which are then processed through software to make a reflectance map of the farm crops.
Severe weather conditions and climate change are increasing globally. With the increasing world population, the consumption of agricultural food is likely to grow considerably. Thanks to the said circumstances, an increasing number of agriculturalists are likely to adopt drone technology.
As with technology in any other field, there are advantages and disadvantages to using this agriculture tech. As a farmer, you should know these plus points and minus points before purchasing a drone for agriculture. Note that the cons are mostly dependent on some other factors.
It is possible to use drones for field and soil’s analysis. Drones can be utilized to make precise three-dimensional maps, which are usable for the analysis of soil, moisture content on the property, and the erosion of soil. This is extremely significant in planning the process of planting seeds. Even after this process, the information is of use for irrigation as well as the handling of the level of nitrogen in the agricultural soil.
Some makers have produced systems capable of shooting pods that contain both plant nutrients and seeds, into the prepared soil. Although these are not all that prevalent yet, the aforesaid shooting process greatly reduces the expenses associated with planting.
Ineffective crop monitoring for vast fields is among the biggest obstacles in the farming industry. The challenge is worsened by the increase of unforeseeable weather patterns that result in increased maintenance costs and increased risks. It is possible to use drones for creating time-series animations that show accurate crop growth, which reveals manufacturing inefficiencies, and thereby, improves crop management.
Drones for Spraying
When used together with lasers and ultrasonic echoing, drones can modulate altitude with a geographical and topographical change. The capability to adjust a drone’s altitude enables spraying the right quantity of the preferred liquid in an even way and real-time. Doing this leads to increased efficiency as the quantity of water that goes into groundwater reduces. Spraying with drones has shown to be quicker compared to other conventional methods as well.
Drones that are equipped with thermal or hyper-spectral sensors have the capability to identify the field parts that have turned dry. Thus, the identified spaces can be addressed to make irrigation accurate and timely.
Ease of Use
Unlike conventional aircraft, drones are more affordable and easier to deploy.
Some drones can scan crops through near-infrared and visible light. After scanning these, available light processing equipment can identify the amount of near-infrared and green light that the plants reflect. This information is utilized to develop multispectral images, depicting the plant’s health. It is possible to use these images to monitor both the crop’s health and remedies administered when sickness is found.
Flight Range and Flight Time
Agriculture drones have some issues. These drones’ flight time is between twenty minutes and one hour. This limits the land that the drone can travel for each charge. The drone’s flight range limits the travelable radius in each flight time too. A drone that can provide longer flight range and time is rather pricier.
Initial Purchase Cost
Drones having the features which qualify these for agricultural use are pretty pricey. This mostly applies to fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles.
It could be more affordable to purchase a drone, which is not fitted out with the essential equipment. Nevertheless, the desired processing software and desired cameras are pretty costly, which makes it just as capital intensive. Buying drones designed for agricultural use could prove expensive during a short period but rewarding in a long period.
Agriculture drones are more susceptible to regional climatic conditions, unlike conventional aircraft. In the event it is rainy or windy outside, then you may be unable to fly these UAVs.
Almost every arable farmland in the United States of America only has a small amount of online coverage. So farmers looking to utilize drones should put money into connectivity, or they should purchase drones that can capture and store information locally in a processable format.
The utilization of UVAs for agriculture is deemed commercial. So, the agriculturalist should undergo Federal Aviation Administration operator training to get a remote pilot certificate from the FAA or hire a drone operator with these qualifications. The federal body also necessitates that UAVs be operated only at a distance of up to 400 ft above the ground.