2017: Year of the Drone for Agriculture?

January 30th, 2017 | Posted by Drip-Well
Drone Flying Over a Farm

Many people are familiar with the concept of drones, whether it’s for military use or as a toy you play with in the backyard. However, drones actually have an array of positive benefits and real-world applications in industry and agriculture, especially when it comes to farming and agriculture.

Drones were first utilized in the agricultural industry in Japan, notes High Plains Public Radio, where they were used to analyze large pieces of land, spot potential threats on farms, and even carry out pest control. Since then, many other countries have started to put drones to good use and have found that there are many benefits that come along with using drones on a farm.

In 2017, more and more farms across the United States are expected to introduce drones onto their properties in an effort to make their operations significantly more efficient. The thought is that many farmers could save money and harvest more crops simply by finding ways to use drones to their benefit. Keep reading to learn more about how drones are changing the agricultural industry and helping farmers be more successful overall.

Drones and AgricultureThe Benefits

Most farmers who make their living by growing crops have very large plots of land that extend over acres and acres. This allows them to grow a lot of whatever it is they specialize in growing, but it also makes it extremely difficult for them to keep a close eye on their land. Their options have always been to physically walk their property to visually inspect it on their own or to use small aircraft to look for potential problems. Some farmers may also pay someone else to do it for them, taking advantage of professional land surveyors or agricultural experts to get a comprehensive assessment of their properties and the health of their fields and crops.

But as the Environmental Defense Fund points out, drones have provided a much greater benefit to farms and ranches by providing a more affordable alternative to keep a closer watch on their property. Drones can canvass a large area in a very short amount of time and give farmers to visually inspect their crops quickly – and in real time. This gives them the ability to pinpoint problem areas and fix issues within just a matter of hours rather than taking days to have an assessment performed, wait for the results and then implement changes in fertilization, pesticide application or watering patterns to improve crop conditions – a process that can sometimes take weeks. Drones have helped many farmers cut back on the time they spend patrolling their land so that they can focus on what matters most – growing the healthiest and most robust crops possible.

Drone Flying Over a FarmThe Costs

There are obviously some costs associated with implementing and introducing an agricultural drone system on a farm. These systems have a wide range in cost, running between $1,500 and $25,000, according to Best Drone For The Job, depending on how sophisticated of a system you need. This might seem like a significant amount of money, but the return on investment on an agricultural drone system is incredible. Implementing a drone surveying system means you won’t have to pay someone to go out and inspect your land or do it yourself. This also means that a drone system can often pay for itself within a few years or less as farms realize the savings of no longer needing to hire an outside service for land surveying – not to mention the potential gains from more rapidly being able to identify and address any concerns top improve overall crop health.

Drones and Farming The Implementation

Before you start using drones on your farm, you will also need to learn how to use it and familiarize yourself with federal rules and any local regulations regarding drone use. From flying your drone to returning it safely once it has flown over your land and captured the images that you need, educating yourself and going through the proper training before you implement a drone system is a good idea. There are a number of training programs now available for farmers interested in learning how to start with a drone program, and these courses can provide basic instruction as well as introduce interested individuals to different types of drone configurations to help them discover what kind might be the best for their property.

The agricultural drone industry is already booming in the U.S. and major analysts agree, says The Motley Fool, which reports on PricewaterhouseCoopers predicting the agricultural drone market to be a $32.4 billion market; Bank of America Merrill Lynch saying drones could account for $82 billion in investments through 2025; and Goldman Sachs projecting the farming and agriculture industries to be the largest market for drones in the U.S. It’s clear to see that drones are a high-flying market and a market where truly the sky’s the limit.

At L & M Manufacturing, we are constantly keeping our eyes on the industry and working to provide farmers, ranchers and others with everything they need to make their operation as efficient and effective as possible. We offer a diverse range of agricultural products, from our patented Drip-Well System to electric fencing and much more. Shop our inventory online now to see how we can help your business flourish, or call us at 800-676-3747 today to learn more.