Farmer Mike Geske has a vision for the future in farming. A future that involves the use of drones. After watching a flying demonstration on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, he sees the use of unmanned aerial vehicles on his Missouri farm to help him with a number of things. One of these is the monitoring of his irrigation pipes which he is currently paying three men for.
“The savings on labor and fuel would just be phenomenal,” Geske says
Chip Bowling, the National Corn Growers Association Presidents is also interested in getting a drone to help him scout out the fields on his Maryland farm to find out which of this would need more spraying.
Bobby Hutchison, yet another farmer, is hoping that the person he hires to observe his crops would buy a drone. He thinks it’s more efficient and would yield more accurate results.
“I see it very similar to how I saw the computer when it first started,” says Hutchison, 64. “It was a no-brainer.”
Basically, famers are hungry for drones.
In theory, drones could replace many of the jobs currently being performed on farms. One of these is the transmission of information regarding crops, machines and the various farming implements scattered all over the farms. Drones could even have a more accurate effect on which areas to spray and such.
Supposedly, more than 80% of drone use is projected to be because of agricultural purposes, at least according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Because of the approval by the FAA for the 50 exemptions in drone use, agricultural drones are expected to explode.
AgEagle is one company that seems to be doing well thanks to the exemptions wherein the orders for their drones have increased to several hundreds, resulting in a backlog. Their first orders actually started the previous year.
“Last year users had to land their aircraft and then take the data to the computer,” he says Bret Chilcot of AgEagle about the advancement in technology. “Now the data appears on your iPad or hand-held device a few minutes after flight.”
Some of the most useful data that farmers can get include pictures, 3-D images, thermal readings and such from an aerial point of view. This can potentially reduce the time it takes to collect essential information to mere minutes. This is a huge leap compared to traditional methods of gathering information which could take days.