Using drones on the farm
When you hear about drones in the news it’s usually because stupid people are using them in ways they shouldn’t. But for agricultural purposes, drones can save farmers a lot of time and money.
Brett Haas is the sales manager for a company called Crop Copter in Illinois. He says everyone who purchases a drone has a different idea of how they’ll use it – which is the beauty of the machine. For example, a small livestock farmer wanted to mount an RFID scanner on the device.
"The reason for that was all of his cows and heifers were tagged with an internal radio chip that then would let him know when he scanned them what their gestation cycle was, when they were going to come in heat," says Haas. "And instead of having to go out and manually scan each cow, he wanted to mount one of these on the bottom of a copter and fly over his herd, and scan them remotely."
Haas has personally benefitted from using a drone. Last year a strong windstorm blew through his 80-acre cornfield, snapping the stalks. Trying to walk on foot through 14-foot tall corn that was laid over, broken off, and going every which-way was extremely difficult.
"We really could not get a good idea of how big the area was, how much was affected. We went out and flew that field with just a Go-Pro camera, just took images, and were actually able to use that imagery as a supplement to our insurance claim," says Haas. "So it gave us a very good idea of how much of the area was affected, and how severe the damage was."
The price of a drone varies, depending on the unit and what you want to do with it. A basic package starts around $2,500.
The Small UAV Coalition advocates for law and policy changes for drone usage in agriculture
Keep up with the latest news on farming drones
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