The FAA approved its first agricultural use of drone technology on farms.
"This month, the Federal Aviation Administration issued the first permit for agricultural use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Steven Edgar, president and CEO of ADAVSO, says his Idaho-based business will use a lightweight, fixed-wing drone to survey fields of crops.
Drone technology, already used in other countries, can make farmers more efficient by helping them locate problem spots in vast fields or ranchlands. Increased efficiency could mean lower costs for consumers and less impact on the environment if farmers used fewer chemicals because drones showed them exactly where to spray."
How could one help you?
The first agriculture drones are looking at massive fields of crops to scout out where crops are too wet, too dry, too diseased or too infested with pests. They can help farmers count plants or measure their height. Farmers can now use satellite technology, but it’s slower and less detailed than images from low-flying drone.
“This is about getting the most productivity from every square inch of a farm,” says ADAVSO’s Edgar.
Alabama farmer Don Glenn(our friend from NAT) said he would buy a drone or use a service that provides drone surveillance on his farm of corn, wheat, soybeans and canola. It’s hard to survey corn fields when they are 8 feet to 10 feet tall, he says.
Drones can carry different tools, including high-resolution cameras, infrared sensors and thermal sensors. Ground-penetrating radar could even measure soil conditions.
Once the land is surveyed, farmers could use that data to narrow the areas that need treatment. If a plot of farmland is infested with weeds, for example, a farmer could spray a small amount of herbicide just in that area, instead of an entire field, to kill them. Farmers hope that they eventually could use drones to do the spraying.
Kevin Price of the Iowa-based drone company RoboFlight Systems says that kind of precision would put farmers at a huge advantage, helping them reduce the costs of chemicals and their application.
I can see this happening. Can you?
I feel good today and give thanks to God. Have a blessed Sunday, the first one of February, 2015.