Drones in agriculture are here to stay. The development of new technologies has brought relief to farmers. Over the last few years, the use of drones has increased, and they are used in almost every sector of the economy. However, the use of drone technology in agriculture is booming. According to some reports, “the agricultural drone market is expected to grow from a $1.2 billion ( USD) industry in 2018 to $4.8 billion in 2024.”
The drone has an effective approach to sustainable agricultural life. This allows agronomists, agricultural engineers, and farmers to streamline their operations and gain effective insights into crops. It has already become part of large-scale farming.
Uses of Drone Technology in Agriculture
In this blog, we will walk through the different areas where drone technologies are being used in agriculture. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s go!
Drones are majorly used in the process of crop surveillance. It is the supervision of crop progress from the time seeds are sown to the time of harvest. The drones are equipped with special imaging equipment called the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The NDVI indicates the plant's health with detailed color information. This helps farmers monitor crops as they grow, so any problems can be dealt with quickly enough to save the plant.
Drone Field Monitoring
Monitoring field conditions is important for a healthy plantation. But it becomes difficult for farmers to monitor such a large area of land. The agriculture drone monitors the health of the soil and field conditions. The drone provides accurate field information, including elevation information that helps to find irregularities in the field.
Planting and Seeding
Ten drones are capable of plating four million trees a day. Automated drone seeders are mostly used in the forestry industry right now, but they have the potential for more widespread use on the horizon. With the help of drones, one can reach the areas without endangering workers.
Agro-spraying in Southeast Asia and South Korea using drones is widespread. Drone sprayers save workers from having to navigate the field with backpack sprayers, which is hazardous to their health. They deliver very fine spray applications that can be targeted to specific areas to maximize efficiency and save chemical costs. In some countries, like Canada, they are not currently legal as more testing needs to be done to understand the impact of spray drift.
Monitoring the area, which used to take hours of walking, can be completed in a few minutes with the help of a drone. Apart from agriculture, the drone industry is also growing rapidly. It is considered extremely useful for farm management. The drones minute the far reaches of a farm without having to get there. This saves valuable time and allows for more frequent monitoring of hard-to-reach areas.
The drone camera provides an overview of farm operations throughout the day to ensure that the operations are running smoothly. They are also used to locate equipment, locating missing or injured animals in far-off gazing areas.
Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are still developing drones. It can help small farmers in developing nations. Current drone technologies are more effective in monitoring crops like corn, as they are planted in large monocultural field patterns. More work is needed to train AI systems to recognize less common crops and diverse planting patterns.
Farmers have animals such as livestock in large numbers. In this case, the livestock can be managed and monitored efficiently with the help of drones, sensors, and cameras. The drones can also identify predators before an attack and can detect sick animals.
The Benefits of Agri-Drones
As the drones are operated by trained pilots, there is no chance of their misuse.
They can increase ROI ( Return on Investment).
They work at double the speed of human labor.
Drones use ULV ( Ultra-low volume) spraying technology, thus it saves water and overuse of chemicals.
They are low in cost and require minimal maintenance.
They help to increase farmers’ productivity.
Limitations of Agri-Drones
Drones are dependent on weather conditions. It is advisable to not fly drones in rainy and windy weather conditions.
An average farmer may struggle to understand drone functions.
Need to obtain government clearance to use it.
Drones with more features are expensive.
Drones have the potential to revolutionize the agriculture sector. Modern technology is making things easy and more effective for future generations. However, you must remember to safeguard your information. Therefore, with new technologies, you must also learn about the technologies to combat fraud.
Getting back to our topic, the agricultural drone market is impressive and is growing year by year. The use of drone technology will help farmers to work smarter and quickly accept and embrace the drones, as they are here to stay.
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