Global food security and food safety concerns around the globe have necessitated the need for large-scale precision agriculture to improve the productivity and quality of agricultural produce. Drones can primarily help in this direction by providing high-resolution aerial data of the farms and assisting in spraying fertilizers, sowing, inspection, etc. Drones can even help farmers with tedious, cumbersome tasks of sowing and examining plants, therefore help save labor and time.
This blog will look at the current utilization of drone tech in agriculture and present a picture of its future potential.
What is precision agriculture?
Precision agriculture is an agricultural technique that allows farmers to manage their crop conditions more efficiently. It goes beyond the concept of just using chemicals for fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides. Using drone technology, farmers can better understand what, when, and where they need to apply these things to the plant, which helps them optimize their use of resources like water, fertilizer, etc.
With precision agriculture, growers can achieve increased productivity by saving time by having equipment work faster and yield more crops per drop of water or reducing the food they apply. Precision agriculture helps deliver crops more efficiently with less waste, making it a much greener practice than traditional farming.
Why use drones for precision agriculture?
One might ask, why use drones and not robots and tractors.
Drones are versatile tools that can help farmers implement precision agriculture. Drones can take aerial images of crops without disturbing them in just minutes. They are lightweight, respond to external commands quickly, and can give clearer images than a satellite can. Plus, these drones are super mobile.
The best part?
Drones are inexpensive and don’t require much training.
Five Benefits of using drones for precision agriculture
- Crop Health Assessment: Drones can help identify fungus, bacteria, or other diseases based on infrared radiation transmitted from sensors mounted on them. Drones with a multispectral camera can detect diseases much earlier than human eyes. With multispectral imaging, they can generate more accurate images than people use to inspect fields for anomalies. Early disease detection would save the farmer both time and money.
- Monitoring of Irrigation Equipment: In farms, there are several irrigation points. Some farmers may face problems when it comes to managing multiple irrigation points simultaneously, especially for farmers with many fertile hectares that are undulated. Mid-season examinations on the nozzles and sprinklers on irrigation equipment that delivers water can be simplified and corrected effectively using drones.
- Weed Identification: A weed map can be plotted by drones using the data they obtain from their sensors, so farmers can easily see areas of high-intensity weed proliferation next to the healthy crops growing right alongside it. Farmers can easily differentiate between what’s healthy growth and what needs to be removed. This means they spend much less time doing the reasoning themselves by seeing through the eyes of their drones to figure out which plants are contaminated or sickly, thereby allowing higher quality crops to be harvested.
- Variable Application of Fertilizers: Dones can help growers create nutrient application maps with drone data, with which farmers can determine their strength of nutrient uptake in the different areas. Hence, farmers can apply more fertilizer in struggling areas and less to flourishing ones.
- Yield Estimation: Drones can also help farmers estimate their yield by counting the crop heads and their volume. Yield estimation using drones is much more accurate than manual calculations.
Precision agriculture can enable growers to make the most out of available resources and make informed decisions for their crops. Drones can help them save time, costs, and manual effort. For more such blogs and detailed market reports, follow BIS Research.