Applied Science / Technology Essay

The Use of Drones in Agriculture

As man continues to find new ways to make his life better and easier, a lot of innovations and inventions have been made in other to make our day to day activities easier. One of these amazing innovations that have helped achieve this is the introduction of drone technology into society. Drones have revolutionized various aspects of human life and have had a positive effect on various aspects of human society. They are now used in security, agriculture, photography and many other fields. The use of drones in agriculture and the changes it has brought to agriculture will be extensively discussed in this article.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) also known as drones have been used commercially since around the early 1980s. However, the use of drones has never gained much popularity as it is nowadays. Drone technology is expected to give the agricultural industry a huge technological makeover, with proper planning and strategy based on real-time data gathering and processing. It has been estimated that in a few years the market for the drone-powered solutions will be well above $32.4 billion. Below are some effective ways by which aerial and ground-based drones have helped to improved various aspects of agriculture.

• Crop Monitoring

One of the greatest obstacles that crop farmers face is the difficulty in monitoring the crops they have in their very vast fields. These farmers could not monitor these large numbers of crops effectively and properly as monitoring these crops is even made more difficult by unpredictable weather conditions. Before the invention of drones, they depended on the use of satellite imagery as the most advanced form of monitoring but even these had some setbacks. The images produced by these satellites were not precise, had to be ordered in advance and could only be done once in a day. But with the introduction of drones, farmers could now generate real-time images and a series of animations to show the development of their crops at a lower price giving room for better crop management.

• Health Assessment

On any farm, it is important to monitor the health of both the plants and animals that are present on such farms. The invention of drones as made this easier, plants can now be scanned with both visible and near-infrared light. These drones can detect which plant reflects the different amount of green light of NIR light and then use this information to produce multidimensional images that will show and track different changes in plants and how it affects their health. This information can now help farmers to react accordingly to this health situation of his farm.

• Estimation of Yield

The use of drones in the agricultural sector also gives farmers the ability to estimate the yields that are likely to come from the farm and also plan ahead. Since drones give precise and accurate information of all that is happening on the farm, the farmer can estimate which part of the farm will give the most yield, or which part of the farm has been affected by disease and cannot give any yield. Armed with this information, the farmer can now plan ahead and determine how he can improve in the future.

• Crop Spraying

Presently, larger and bigger drones are being fixed with small quantities of fertilizers, insecticides and other liquid farm impute to send help the plants on the farm grow properly. However, the use of drones to apply these farm inputs has been greatly restricted to a few areas of the world due to the concern that this can cause environmental pollution. Also, counter-terrorism laws prevent drones from carrying payloads.

Disadvantages to the Use of Drones in Agriculture

Although drones are regarded as a great improvement to the agricultural industry, there are some problems that this new technology still causes in the Agricultural sector. Even though there is active work going on to improve on this technology, it is important to state the problems these techs still cause.

• The short time of flight

Although improvements are still being made on drone technology, the drones that are available to farmers right now are not able to work for a long time. They can only fly for a few moments and cannot last in the air as long as farmers want them to thus, their use are limited,

Farmers can’t use these drones to cover a wide area of land and cannot use them for a long period of time.

• High Cost of Management

Although drones are not as expensive as the use of satellite to generate images, it is still quite expensive. Since these drones are still relatively new into the agricultural sector, it is relatively difficult and expensive to acquire and manage.

Apart from this, it is also difficult to get professionals to manage the droned effectively without any problem, and when this personnel is even found, their wages are often quite high.

• Federal Laws

The use of agricultural drones is considered commercial. This means the farmer needs to undergo a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) operator training to acquire a remote pilot certificate or hire an operator with such qualifications. FAA also demands that drones be flown at an altitude of not more than 400 feet. These laws and limitations make it difficult for farmers to operate their drones effectively without hindrance.

As you can see, drones have a great impact on the future of agriculture, it is possible that in the nearest future, the little limitation affecting the super technology will be fixedThe Use of Drones in Agriculture, and we will be able to benefit from maximally from them.

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