Maybe you have seen them in the sky, but weren’t quite sure what that object is? Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), were originally created for military use. Nowadays, drones are being used in several different ways in precision agriculture. It’s predicted that the use of drones in agriculture will make up 80 percent of all drone sales in the U.S. by 2022.

Not sure how drones will fit in your farm life? Here are three ways you can use drones to make precision agriculture more efficient.

Monitoring

With abilities such as time-lapse photography and time series animations, drones allow farmers to manage crop conditions on a consistent basis showing precise crop development and expose any inadequacies in production. This could help farmers discover issues such as crops not being properly irrigated or to identify an area of a field that needs intensive scouting to understand issues with crop health.

Mapping

Drones can be utilized for soil and field analysis, which can produce accurate 3-D maps that examine moisture content and soil erosion. Recent drone models are equipped with flight planning software that allows farmers to pinpoint the areas he or she wants to analyze. The software then makes an automated flight path that takes pictures using onboard sensors and the built-in camera and uses GPS to determine where to take each shot based on the thermal imagery being captured by UAV’s.

Spraying

Some drones have the capability of spraying crops with more speed and accuracy than a tractor trailer and are proven to be a faster technique than other traditional processes. This helps decrease costs and probable pesticide exposure to workers who traditionally sprayed crops by hand.

Drones can also adjust altitude which enables their ability to spray the correct amount of fertilizer evenly each time. This will ensure efficiency overall in crop development.

With benefits such as these, it’s easy to recognize the value in using drones for precision agriculture and why the demand for these devices will increase within the next decade. UAV’s capture a new layer of data growers can use in their decision-making process to maximize return on investment and minimize the impact on the environment. According to The Global Market Insights, the market size for agricultural drone usage will exceed $1 billion and 200,00 units shipped by 2024. So, if you haven’t thought about it before, a drone might be an investment worth purchasing.

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