drones in agriculture
Drone Technology

Drones in Agriculture

August 11, 2021

The Evolution of Agriculture

There was a time when agriculture was only carried out near rivers and other water bodies. Farmers were at the mercy of pests and weather conditions. But as technology evolved, smart irrigation systems were deployed, fertilizers and pesticides were invented (and someone thought of making a scarecrow!) and agriculture transcended to the next level. Don’t get us wrong, we’re still at the mercy of mother nature, but at least we have improved our probability for success and that’s what it is all about. 

Imagine a combination of one of the world’s oldest occupations, farming, combined with one of the world’s latest technologies. What a mindblowing combination that would be! Well, the good part is that you don’t have to imagine it, it’s already a part of today’s world. However, only a minority of farmers in the world are aware of this technology, and even fewer have embraced it to optimize their agricultural yield. That’s unfortunate because with a steeply increasing demand for food, a farmer’s occupation has never been under more pressure in the history of humankind.

So what is the next big thing in agriculture you ask? Drone technology!

Drone Technology

To be honest, it would be unfair to say that drone technology is the “next” big thing. Simply because it is already here. It has been here for quite some time, the only issue is that of awareness and adoption. The ones that have adopted it are reaping the benefits, but the adoption rate itself is the problem.

The “Drone” or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are small and lightweight devices that are fitted with a camera or sensor to easily hover around large farms to give you an aerial snapshot of the farm. In terms of maneuverability and resolution they are better positioned than satellites and aircrafts for detailed monitoring (though the usefulness of satellites and aircraft in agriculture should not be underestimated! They bring along their own set of advantages that we will dive into in a later publication).

These drones can cover large farms in a matter of hours to keep a farmer well informed about any issues that may be happening on their farm.

Farmers, agronomists, rural engineers and businesses alike can benefit so much from understanding the farm to fork journey of crops and make timely interventions wherever needed. 

Drone technology has given rise to precision farming, which is the accurate and sustainable use of agricultural resources to optimize yield and gain efficiencies all around.

Advantages, Benefits and Applications of Drones in Agriculture

Drones are like the eyes of the farmer (or an agronomist) in the sky. It finds an application in every stage of the crop’s life cycle, from start to end. Below are some of the key uses of drones –

Crop monitoring – Crops can be monitored from a bird’s eye view for any discoloration, pest attacks or to identify and clear the bad batches before they ruin the whole field.

Analysing Trends – By taking a time lapse of the entire farm, you can monitor the entire journey of the harvest and make crucial notes of the activity during the different stages to improve future yields.

Irrigation & Soil sampling – Existing and new irrigation systems can be thoroughly tested to check efficacy. Similarly, soil samples can be easily tested to check for quality.

Flood monitoring – Terrains can be viewed after floods have hit, especially the parts that are not accessible by foot.

Crop scouting – Doing comprehensive crop counts and Identifying early signs of diseases and stress in crops that need immediate attention.

The common theme in all the above is that good information allows for an optimal usage of resources. In the current day and age, it is extremely important that limited resources (including land and water) be used efficiently and that chemicals are applied as little as possible. Not only to improve the financial output, but also to reduce the environmental impact of these activities.

Conclusion

Drone technology couldn’t have peaked at a better time with ever increasing number of mouths to feed in the world. It has already started revolutionizing current agricultural practices. It has made farmers and everyone involved in the agricultural space proactive. It has given agriculture a very scientific and analytical approach which is helping to cut costs, improve efficiency, increase profitability as well as sustainability. 

There is an old saying, the earthworm is the farmer’s best friend. Now, we don’t want to go about changing old sayings, but drones are definitely a close second!

At Ellipsis Drive, we provide a drive-like solution that enables an application such as drone technology. With the simple plug & play nature of our solution, images and analytics captured by drones can be easily shared with stakeholders of different levels of technical knowhow. Our platform allows real time collaboration and simultaneous access, meaning faster turnaround of actionable insights, and well, time is money!

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