Agricultural drones: effective agricultural management

Drones or UAVs are the order of the day and surely you have heard of their thousand and one applications. Agriculture is where these devices seem to have the most potential. We review, with our feet on the ground, the solutions that drones can bring to the agricultural sector.

The possibilities in the agricultural sector are many. They are devices that can fly over crop fields quickly and collect information thanks to their sensors. In this way, professionals have an effective instrument for controlling and increasing productivity.

Drones an effective farming equipment

The main advantage of drones is that, equipped with multispectral cameras or other sensors, they allow the collection of crop information that the farmer may not detect with the naked eye.

One of the information that drones provide the most value is the vigor maps. These maps made from the combination of images of the non-visible spectrum inform the technician or farmer of the irregularities that the crop may have in the same plot.

With this information, focused measures can be taken to solve the problem that the area has where the crop does not develop as it should: modify irrigation, improve the soil, make a localized treatment, etc.

drones

The most common case is that of variable fertilization. Within the same plot, several sectors with different fertilization needs are delimited and the amount of fertilizer that the crop needs is provided at each point, which leads to savings in fertilizer.

The most important thing: knowing how to interpret the information

All experts agree that the image that is taken with the drone itself does not add any value. The images must be processed, analyzed and interpreted correctly. Many times the image obtained will have to be cross-referenced with soil analysis, plot history, soil map, and above all with the farmer’s knowledge of the plot.

Other experiences in the use of drones

There has also been talk of the application of phytosanitary treatments with drones. In agriculture only some tests have been carried out at an experimental level. But its real application in farms is in question, since the capacity of the tank and the flight autonomy of these devices is limited and only makes sense for very specific cases, for example to control pests in palm trees in public spaces.

What is the cost of a drone flight?

Although the use of the drone is becoming popular, for the farmer the flight is only justified when the information that will be provided is higher than the cost of the flight. For this reason, where it is being used the most is in crops with high added value: vineyards, fruit trees and horticultural crops.

agricultural drones

The full-time rental cost with a specialized operator can vary. The area that can be covered is highly variable depending on the distribution of the plots.

Another aspect to take into account before mapping your plots with a drone is to know if with the information obtained, then you will have the means to solve the problems detected. For example, if you do not have a spreader that allows variable fertilization, it will be of little use to have a vigor map. 

Sure, drones will play an important role in improving efficiency in the agricultural sector, but it is important to be grounded and not get carried away by futuristic agriculture news, and know what we are talking about when drone and agriculture go hand in hand.

In addition to drones, in order to properly manage your fields, it is also important to collect information from the ground. With Skytech Solutions you can record all the work done in your crops and thus have more information to make better decisions. Get in touch with us today!

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Nancy Garg