Technology has acted as the force multiplier in all walks of life due to its distinct advantages. It has improved the efficacy of all conventional and neo sectors and has enabled progress by leaps and bounds. This is also true for Agriculture where technology has allowed us to modify the core of the plantation. From genetically modified crops to Precision farming , technology has impacted agriculture in a major way over the last decade or two.
One of the latest technological applications in the field of agriculture is the use of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) also known as Drones. Farms and fields require hundreds of hours of human effort for their maintenance and while farmers are known for their field scouting abilities, very few actually have time to do that on foot. With the introduction of drones in agriculture the cost of walking the fields and air-plane flyover filming has been greatly reduced.
Drone use is becoming quite popular among farmers. Farms that have incorporated Drones into their businesses have seen many benefits especially when it comes to data collection. Farmers no longer have to rely on walking their fields or monitoring their fields via manned aerial vehicles or satellite in order to gather data or other important information about their lands. Use of drones have many other benefits too in the field of agriculture , increasing yields, precision farming, crop health imaging etc. Drones bring in huge return on investments.
Drones make an important contribution in the field of agriculture. They can be equipped with sensors and microcontrollers, NIR and multispectral cameras with advanced imaging capabilities, GPS receivers and many more. They support farmers in the efficient use of plant protection products, providing important data on the type of soil, helping them increase yield and reduce crop damage. The use of drones in agriculture has a huge potential and a wide-ranging field of applications.
Precision Agriculture with Drones
Drones equipped with NDVI cameras help detect nitrogen deficient areas or diminished photosynthesis. NDVI grids and maps provide an overview of the status and dynamics of the farms. Drone-generated, variable-rate application (VRA) maps to determine the strength of nutrient uptake within a single field allows farmers to identify and focus on the struggling areas thus decreasing fertilizer costs and boosting yields.
Crop Health Monitoring
In-progress crops can be inspected from the sky without requiring the farmers to walk down fields. Drones allow for coverage of more acres and capturing data hidden from the human eye (NDVI and NIR).
Heavy Machinery and Equipment Monitoring
Farms spread across multiple acres and often it is not easy to keep a watchful eye over every nook and corner of the farm. Drones provide an efficient replacement to the traditional methods of inspection involving individual inspection of machinery and equipment by farmers. Drones can stay up in the air for several hours at a stretch and can quickly rifle through the area that needs special attention.
Cattle Herd Monitoring
The ability of drones to inspect an area from the sky allows them to easily monitor herds of cattle from overhead and calculate to the quantity of cattle in a particular area. they are especially helpful for night-time monitoring and also in tracking down stray cattle.
The number of farms and companies that manufacture agriculture drones is increasing by the dozen. As mentioned in The Boston Globe – ‘agriculture drones are expected to make up 80 percent of the future commercial market, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’. Drones have influenced agriculture in a huge way and the number of farmers and companies that are incorporating the use of drones into their business models is surging in record amounts all over the world.
NavStik Labs works on the development of operating system and flight computers for commercial drones. Its technology is being used by customers in 12+ countries to power a wide variety of drones for applications, such as, construction, agriculture, industrial inspections, delivery, etc. NavStik was recently recognized as “Startup of the Year – Technology” by the Startup Leadership Program.