Drones in agriculture are here to stay. The development of new technologies has brought relief to farmers. Over the last few years, the use of drones has increased, and they are used in almost every sector of the economy. However, the use of drone technology in agriculture is booming. According to some reports, “the agricultural drone market is expected to grow from a $1.2 billion (USD) industry in 2018 to $4.8 billion in 2024”.
The drone has an effective approach to sustainable agricultural life. This allows agronomists, agricultural engineers, and farmers to streamline their operations and gain effective insights into crops. It has already become part of large-scale farming.
Uses of Drone Technology in Agriculture:-
In this blog, we will walk through the different areas where drone technologies are being used in agriculture. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s go!
Drones are majorly used in the process of crop surveillance. It is the supervision of crop progress from the time seeds are sown to the time of harvest. The drones are equipped with special imaging equipment called the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The NDVI indicates the plant’s health with detailed color information. This helps farmers monitor crops as they grow, so any problems can be dealt with quickly enough to save the plant.
Drone Field Monitoring:-
Monitoring field conditions is important for a healthy plantation. But it becomes difficult for farmers to monitor such a large area of land. The agriculture drone monitors the health of the soil and field conditions. The drone provides accurate field information, including elevation information that helps to find irregularities in the field.
Planting and Seeding:-
Ten drones are capable of plating four million trees a day. Automated drone seeders are mostly used in the forestry industry right now, but they have the potential for more widespread use on the horizon. With the help of drones, one can reach the areas without endangering workers.
Spray Treatment :-
Agro-spraying in Southeast Asia and South Korea using drones is widespread. Drone sprayers save workers from having to navigate the field with backpack sprayers, which is hazardous to their health. They deliver very fine spray applications that can be targeted to specific areas to maximize efficiency and save chemical costs. In some countries, like Canada, they are not currently legal as more testing needs to be done to understand the impact of spray drift.
Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are still developing drones. It can help small farmers in developing nations. Current drone technologies are more effective in monitoring crops like corn, as they are planted in large monocultural field patterns. More work is needed to train Al systems to recognize less common crops and diverse planting patterns.
The Benefits of Agri- Drones are:-
• As the drones are operated by trained pilots, there is no chance of their misuse.
• They can increase ROI (Return on Investment).
• They work at double the speed of human labor.
• Drones use ULV ( Ultra-low volume) spraying
• Technology, thus it saves water and overuse of chemicals, they are low in cost and require minimal maintenance also they help to increase farmers’ productivity.
Limitations of Agri-Drones:-
• Connectivity issue.
• Drones are dependent on weather conditions. It is advisable to not fly drones in rainy and windy weather conditions, an average farmer may struggle to understand drone functions.
• Need to obtain government clearance to use it.
• Drones with more features are expensive.