Drones with advanced sensors and imaging capabilities are giving farmers new ways to farm. Some of the primary uses are:
Mid-Season Crop Health Monitoring
The ability to inspect in-progress crops from on high with Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) or Near-Infrared (NIR) cameras is one of the top uses for drones in farming. A task that traditionally was done by walking fields with notepad in hand, drones now allow for coverage of more hectares, as well as the capturing of data that cannot be seen by the human eye (NDVI).
Farm Equipment Monitoring
Monitoring equipment and machinery on multiple locations is a time consuming exercise, especially for large growers that have many fields spread out across a region. Drones can be programmed to fly from field to field to conduct routine inspections and monitor day-to-day operations, saving you time and reducing costs.
NDVI maps can be used to direct in-season fertiliser applications on corn and other crops. By using drone-generated, Variable-Rate Application (VRA) maps to determine the strength of nutrient uptake within a single field, the farmer can apply 30kg of fertilizer to the struggling areas, 20kg to the medium areas, and 10kg to the healthy areas, decreasing fertiliser costs and boosting yields.
Cattle Herd Monitoring
Drones are a solid option for monitoring herds from overhead, tracking the quantity and activity level of animals on one’s property. And they are especially helpful for night-time monitoring due to the human eye’s inability thus far to evolve to the point of seeing in the dark.