The agricultural drone is becoming more and more common. Drones can help you accomplish time-consuming and complex tasks while reducing material costs. The use of UAVs in agriculture can be expected to grow as the industry develops and new technologies are introduced.
There are currently 6 main uses for agricultural drones:
1. Analysis of soil and field
In the beginning, middle, and end of the crop cycle, drones can be used to obtain useful data on soil composition and quality. With 3D soil maps, you can quickly diagnose problems with soil composition, nutrient levels, or dead zones.
This information can help farmers determine the most effective planting and growing patterns, soil management, and more. Ongoing monitoring can ensure optimal use of water resources and maintain the correct ratio of nutrients in plant care.
2. Planting seeds using agricultural drone
Planting seeds using drones is relatively new and not yet widespread, but some companies are experimenting with planting seeds using drones. Basically, growers are experimenting with specific systems that are programmed to spread seeds into prepared soil.
Young UAV companies have played an important role in the development of unique technologies designed to solve a number of environmental and agricultural problems. For example, DroneSeed is using an unmanned aerial vehicle capable of lifting 57 lb/flight of tree seeds, herbicides, fertilizers, and water for reforestation and replanting purposes.
This technology helps to minimize the need for personal presence for planting plants in the selected area, which can sometimes become an expensive and energy-intensive task.
This same drone technology can be adapted and applied to many types of farms, reducing planting times and labor costs.
3. Spraying crops and spot spraying
Maintaining rich yields requires constant fertilization and spraying. In the past, this was done by hand using vehicles or aircraft. However, these methods can be described as ineffective, cumbersome, and quite costly.
Based on a decision by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), drones can be equipped with large tanks that can be filled with fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. Using drones to spray crops is much safer and more cost-effective. Drones are able to function autonomously and can be programmed to fly on a specific schedule and route.
Spot spraying the crops was an incredibly difficult task. If there were problems with weeds or a specific crop, the entire area had to be sprayed.
This was a huge waste of time and resources as someone had to walk the entire site. Add to this the cost of pesticides and the environmental damage caused by the use of chemicals.
Drone-assisted spot spraying makes this task much less time-consuming and cost-effective, including environmental costs.
4. Harvest mapping and geodetic works
One of the main advantages of using drone technology is the simplicity and efficiency of large-scale monitoring of crops and agricultural areas. In the past, satellite or airplane photographs have been used to capture large-scale images of the farm and detect potential problems.
However, these photographs were expensive and could not guarantee the same degree of image fidelity that drones offer. Nowadays, you can take not only pictures in real time, but also chronologically lined animation showing the growth of plants in real time.
With drone mapping and surveying, technology decisions can now be made based on real-time data, rather than outdated photographs or practical considerations.
With near-infrared (NIR) sensors, you can determine the health of plants based on light absorption, giving you an instant overview of your farm’s health. We recently interviewed a drone pilot who used near infrared photography to help vineyard owners diagnose the condition of their vines.
With agricultural drones, you can receive information such as:
- Harvest volume and plant health.
- Distribution of land depending on the type of culture.
- The current life cycle of the culture.
- Detailed maps of cultivated areas made with GPS.
It’s simple: drones can help you maximize the use of land and resources, helping farmers find optimal areas for planting crops.
5. Monitoring and organization of irrigation works
Irrigation is a troublesome job. If your irrigation installations stretch for many miles, problems cannot be avoided. Drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras can diagnose irrigation problems or areas with too little or too much moisture.
With this information, you can create the most efficient planting patterns to improve drainage, utilize natural runoff, and avoid water build-up that can harm sensitive crops.
Water and irrigation problems are not only expensive but can destroy your crops. With the help of drones, these problems will be detected before they can harm you.
6. Livestock monitoring in real time
Some drones are equipped with thermal imaging cameras that allow the pilot to control the drone and track livestock at the same time. This allows farmers to regularly monitor their livestock with a minimum investment of time and labor.
The drone operator can quickly check the herd to make sure that there are no injured or missing animals, and that there are young animals. Drones are used to continuously monitor the herd, which was once costly and time consuming.
In addition, photographs taken with a thermal imager help track predators, being of great help to some farm owners.
Start your career as an agricultural drone pilot
Maximizing yields, minimizing costs and creating a new generation of farms.
It’s easy to see why agricultural drones are so popular. Farms and agricultural enterprises using drones in their activities will quickly displace those who refuse this opportunity from the market.
This means that agricultural drone pilots will become a key asset for these companies.
It sounds like an invitation to an exciting and challenging profession.
The agricultural drone market is still in its infancy. And the biggest obstacle to its growth is the lack of experienced pilots.
Fortunately, if you are reading these words, you are only one click away from becoming a certified drone pilot. Through quality training and a genuine interest in this area of expertise, you can influence how you grow your crops and secure jobs in a lucrative and promising industry.
As a professional agricultural drone pilot, you will stay up to date with the latest farm, livestock, and soil data, applying this information to quickly assess agricultural production.
After receiving the certification, you can choose one of the possible ways to achieve success in working with agricultural drones, for example:
- Working as a consultant offering soil assessment and mapping to optimize the farm structure based on thermal imaging photographs and processed using modern software.
- Creation of automated systems of unmanned aerial vehicles for existing farms, providing planting, spraying and regular management of crops.
- Contract work that includes regular crop monitoring, spraying and detailed analysis to maximize yield.
- Work on the farms of large agricultural companies that need an experienced agricultural drone pilot.
- Creation of detailed maps of lawns and other land use objects in the open air.
- Conducting in-depth research on the survival and viability of wild plants and crops in various weather and climatic conditions.
Rest assured that in the future, the number of jobs, contracts, and jobs using agricultural drones, as well as promising business opportunities will continue to increase as drones gain in popularity.