Drones : 4 Ways to Put Them To Use on the Farm

    Coming home from with a brand-new drone in tow may make you feel like a kid at Christmas, but at the end of the day, any drone you may purchase is a powerful tool.

    And just like your handy Swiss Army Knife that can cut, saw, open and tighten, a drone has many functions that can help you be more efficient on your farm.

    Here is a list of four ways drones can be put to use.

    1. Scouting for weeds and insects

    Protecting your fields from weeds and insects starts with vigilant scouting from planting to harvest, and the earlier you can kill weeds, the better your chances are of controlling them. But while scouting is an important management practice, many farmers have trouble finding the time to walk through all of their fields. Drones can cover more area in less time, allowing you to monitor pest pressure consistently.

    2. Measuring crop health

    Plants reflect both visible light and near-infrared (NIR) light, and if a plant is healthy, it will reflect more NIR light. But unless you’ve been bitten by a radioactive spider, you aren’t able to see the difference with your naked eye. Some drones are equipped with imaging technology that can capture both visible and NIR light to be compared and analyzed that will help you identify crop-health issues.

    3. Monitor water drainage

    Soybeans don’t do well in wet soil for prolonged periods of time, so drainage in your fields is very important. Drones with thermal sensors can scan your field and recognize dry and wet areas. This can help you identify problem areas in your field as well help you plan out optimized drainage strategies.

    4. Weather damage

    There are several things to consider when facing a replanting decision. Using a drone to scan your field can help you determine how much damage was sustained during a storm or other event, which can ultimately help you assess the pros and cons of replanting. Taking aerial photographs of your crops and property following a severe storm will also provide you with documentation that may be necessary for insurance claims.

    Drones can be put to use in several ways, but not all ways will be valuable for you. Do your research and make sure the technology is a good fit for your farm before taking the plunge.

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