A quad-rotor UAV is being trialled for crop monitoring: A farming consultancy has recently procured and started to trail a UAV as a new tool for their ‘crop scouting programme’.
The aim of this new addition, is to provide farmers with a thorough survey of their crops, at a reduced timescale and without having to employ crop scouts for long periods to conduct a survey for them; as most farmers do not have the time to do it themselves.
The traditional way of crop surveying is to walk the field, which comes with physical limitations meaning sometimes only 5% of the field is actually covered.
The consultancy are currently learning to fly the UAV and hence discover its full range of capabilities. So far they have found the quad-rotor UAV is able to take pictures and video the land at the same time; whilst covering an average of a 160 acre region in under 12 minutes. This certainly seems a much improved and more efficient method for crop surveying!
The UAVs birds eye view is believed to enable farmers to recognize issues in the field that may not be apparent from ground level. The clear advantage being the sooner a problem is discovered, the sooner it can be rectified hence minimizing damage to production i.e. potential yield loss.
I have seen that UAVs are becoming increasingly of interest in the Agricultural space. UAVs however, are not a new idea to all farmers, as they have been used on Japanese farm land for the best part of 30 years!
Personally I can see a clear use for UAVs in agriculture, whilst avoiding issues of potential harm to the public, as they will not be flown over populated spaces, just the farmers own land.
I wonder how long it will be until UAVs are as standard on a farm as a tractor?
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Original Picture by Parker Knight on Flickr