How drones are helping farmers work more efficiently


How drones are helping farmers work more efficiently

When it comes to farming, things can change in the blink of an eye. Whether it has to do with your cattle, crops or equipment, efficient field scouting should form part of any farmer’s daily activities. And, in order to do so, you need to employ the latest technology innovations to help you do the job.

As important as tractors are on the ground, drones are in the sky. These little, innovative machines have become an important tool for farmers when it comes to managing projects more efficiently. Smart farming is the way of the future, and in order to maintain a balance between cost and quality, without being disruptive, drones can be the sensing technology that you need to help improve farming productions.

Here are a few benefits of drones used for farming:


  • GPS maps for field surveys

The great thing about drones is that they give you the opportunity to fly over your land and take still photographs, giving you a different perspective of your farm. These still images come with GPS coordinates which allow you to track everything. They can also help you to map out field surveys and cut out unnecessary activities that could be done more accurately via a drone than manually.


  • Faster and more affordable cheaper crop scouting

The traditional way of looking at crops are by driving onto a specific area with your tractor and making notes of everything that you see. While it may make you feel better to look and observe with your own two eyes, the accuracy is limited. There are bound to be areas that you will miss with your eyes or cannot get to. These are the things that drones can pick up for you. Plus, using a drone takes away any damage that happens to the area while you’re doing your inspection, as well as allowing you to quickly move from area to area with ease. This drastically decreases the turnaround time for internal operations.

Another perk of crop scouting with drones is that you will quickly get an idea of how the crops look and what their health is telling you. If you can spot bacterial or fungal infections on the still images received, you can drive straight to the problem area and treat the crops that need some extra care. This type of instant action will be able to save you from weeds, pests and diseases long in advance.


  • More accurate crop health assessments with false-colour mapping

Since your drone footage will provide you with still images that have GPS tracking coordinates, you will be able to process these images with a variety of different filters and map types to give you an in-depth understanding, with a visual representation of what is happening. There are filters and lights that reflect different crop diseases, which often cannot be seen by the naked eye. Knowing this, these smart tools can really help you to get ahead and spot things that you’ve never noticed before.


  • You’ll be able to detect weeds, disease and pests in advance

As mentioned in the crop scanning, farmers will have the opportunity to scout out weeds, diseases and pests long in advance. You will now be able to identify something and immediately act on it, without prolonging the issue. While drones may be great tools for project progression, they’re also good safety tools in making sure that your production is going according to plan.


  • Drainage and irrigation monitoring

Having a bird’s eye view of an area is far different to seeing it up close and personal. You will be able to look at a field from afar and see the impact of your irrigation and drainage systems. This can also be displayed on images, with certain filters showing specific features that you choose. For example, dry ground can be portrayed as a warm colour and wet ground as a cool colour. This will give you a better scope of what to do and how to adjust your watering schedule accordingly. Leaving water to flood in areas can damage your crops, and not having enough water in other areas can do the exactly the same.


  • Livestock monitoring

If you’re working on a livestock farm with separate feeding fields, getting around to everything can be time-consuming and challenging. If you have the opportunity to monitor your livestock from overhead, it will give you a full scope of the state of your cattle. For example, if there are any injured or malnourished animals that need more attention, the images you capture will help you to do that.


  • Equipment and asset inspection

Drones can act as an incredible security tool that helps to monitor your assets and equipment. You’ll be able to watch your staff work, and if there is any piece of equipment that is faulty or hazardous, you’ll be able to note that and change your approach. Having the necessary information about how well your equipment works will help you to adjust your business model for improved efficiency.


Final words

While it may seem like a costly venture to purchase a drone for your farming operations, you’re setting yourself and your employees up for success. These tools are efficient, durable and reliable. You’ll be able to complete projects and sign on new ones easily without having to waste time on time-consuming tasks that can be handled by a drone. If you haven’t got the finances to pay for a drone upfront, there are many agriculture finance companies which could help you take your business to new heights. Do your research and stay ahead of the curve with the latest technological advancements.