The use of commercial UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), better known as drones, is changing the face of many of today’s biggest industries, from mining surveys to infrastructure maintenance. And agriculture is no exception.
In response to rapid improvements in drone technology, suppliers and farmers have found ways to use drones to better their agricultural initiatives and tackle challenges like increased productivity demands and the impact of poor weather conditions. The large scale production of food is a vital part of our modern society and drones can help make this happen in a more sustainable and efficient way moving forward.
Ways drones can help the agricultural industry
1. Smart farming
Precision farming, otherwise known as ‘smart farming’ considers the incorporation of the latest technology in the production of food and the management of livestock with a view to increased productivity without compromising quality products. This is in response to the need for increased food production in the face of diminishing resources such as land and water. When it comes to surveying and mapping, drones can collect and supply highly technical, precise data, efficiently and swiftly – data that can be used to speed up production process and identify potential hazards or stumbling blocks.
2. Soil analysis
Drones are able to render precise 3D maps for soil analysis, which can be useful for identifying optimal seed planting, irrigation, and management conditions and processes.
3. Crop spraying
Customised drones make for effective crop sprayers as they can use distance-measuring equipment to evaluate changes in topography and geography as well as avoid collisions by adjusting their altitude. Scanning the ground, they can spray the correct amounts of liquid at the correct times and places to ensure even coverage and lower levels of groundwater penetration. All of this with an increased speed and efficiency that far outstrips traditional spraying methods.
4. Crop monitoring
When it comes to monitoring crops, large distances and poor weather conditions can hamper monitoring operations. Not as time-consuming or risky as on-foot operations and not as costly as satellite services, drones allow for real-time crop monitoring and better crop management overall. Plus, using specialised light sensors, drones can scan plants for sickness and track results over time, allowing for more streamlined documentation.
Tracts of farming land tend to be large and wide-ranging, not to mention the ability of herds of livestock to wander far and wide. Drone surveillance allows for an aerial view of land conditions and livestock location, all in real time, allowing farmers to keep up to speed with the crop developments and livestock conditions.
Want to implement the use of drones in your farming project or industry? DC Geomatics can help! As licensed drone operators with experience in a number of industries, we offer a wide range of commercial services and turnkey drone surveying and mapping solutions. Accredited and compliant on every front, we work with professional organisations and government bodies across Africa to help our clients achieve the best possible results on time and in budget.