Agricultural Drones are a very new topic in the present day. Over the last couple of years, the agriculture industry has seen many changes due to the use of technology. The use of modern-day technology has ensured an increase in productivity, and be a sustainable industry.
Drone technology is a new concept that has been incorporated in Agriculture in the last decade, and it helps farmers to have better field experience. It aids the farmers in observing, measuring, surveying, analyzing, and taking action based on the real-time crop and livestock data.
The use of an agricultural drone is a new technological wave in the farming sector, to meet the growing demand of the future. The changing climate patterns and environmental pollution are demanding efficient agriculture.
These drones allow the farmers to increase the soil efficiency by enabling the analysis of some processes and practices of farming and agriculture. The hi-tech drones have a vast range of use which includes the planning, planting, spraying, monitoring, livestock and field management, irrigation, mapping, etc.
These drones help by taking low-cost images of fields and farms and aids the farmers in planning and data collection. These agriculture drones can be operated using remote control devices or with GPS or similar sensor devices.
These drones are available in various shapes, sizes, and capacities and can also have different configurations such as single-rotor, multi-rotor, and fixed-wings. Multi-rotor drones are the most widely used drones in the agriculture sector at present.
Here is How can a drone be used in agriculture:-
1. Soil and Field Analysis
Over the past few years, drones are being used effectively in terms of soil and field analysis. Drones can be used throughout the year to determine the quality of the soil at all stages. This, in turn, helps to ensure that the necessary action can be taken at the right time for improving the soil quality and make it suitable for the crops.
These drones create 3D images of the soil to be used to figure out the problems related to the quality of the soil. This also gives an idea about the soil nutrients and dead zones. The 3D maps can be used to design seed planting patterns. After planting, it can be used to decide the irrigation schedule for each type of soil.
2. Field Surveying and Mapping of Crop
With the help of these advanced drones, one can get real-time images of growing crops and videos of the growth of these crops. Bird’s-eye view of the farm enables the farmers to keep an eye on the whole farm, along with the livestock from a shelter. An advanced infrared sensor embedded drone helps in determining the crop based on light absorption.
A farmer can use a drone to check the condition of the crops planted across a field at any time using these drones. This is an effective procedure, especially when it comes to the management of large areas of land by a single framer or only a couple of farmers.
3. Planting of Seeds
Planting of seeds when it comes to farming is an important step, and it needs to be studied and done in the right way for better yield of crops. Drones are specially designed for planting seeds. For this, the drones have a specialized system that shoots seed pods on the treated soils.
This can also be used for reforestation projects. The planting process can also be used for the planting of the nutrients in the soil. The method is still under the process of development and is expected to reduce the planting cost by almost 85 percent.
4. Monitoring Crops
Large fields can be managed easily from a room with the use of these sensor technology-based drones. A farmer at any-time can check the fields with just a click of a button. This, as already mentioned earlier, can be very effective for large areas of agricultural land, and also when there is less man-power available at any instance. The monitoring technique is especially useful in case of adverse weather conditions when the farmer faces challenges going out in the field to check the crops manually.
5. Livestock Monitoring
This is similar to the crop-monitoring technique. Livestock monitoring is very essential as there are frequent incidents of livestock going astray. It helps the farmers to keep their livestock on track and makes it easy to track down lost or injured livestock. Furthermore, with the thermal imaging technology, it helps the farmers to keep an eye out for livestock predators.
6. Spraying on Crops
Crops require regular spraying of fertilizers and pesticides to maintain their high yields and to keep pests away, respectively. If the process could be simplified using drones that spray the crops on behalf of a farmer, it reduces quite an effort by the farmer.
These drones are specially equipped to carry large volumes of pesticides or fertilizers. The sensors help it to understand the requirement of the soil at a location, and spray the liquid accordingly. Using drones for spraying of crops makes it almost 5 times more effective and less time-consuming.
7. Irrigation of Soil
Irrigation of soil takes a long time and patience. The drones are designed such that it can be used to water the crops to the right amounts. The infrared and thermal sensors determine the amount of moisture in the soil and the moisture needed by it. It helps to calculate the vegetation index, optimizing the crop-watering technique. It can also spot in hydric stress in farmland.
8. Soil Health Assessment
Soil health assessment is a crucial aspect of farming. Many things depend on the quality and health of the soil. If you can determine the crop health, the growth of bacterial or fungal infection in the soil, it enables you to take prompt action on the situation and save the crops in turn.
Drones can determine the fungal and bacterial infections at a very early stage and hence, help you to save your crop, in time. Drones can save crops by diagnosing and treating potential issues before they start spreading. Even when it comes to crop failure, documentation for insurance claims can be done more effectively using these drones.
Why use Drones for Agriculture?
- Drones are being used in agriculture at quite a large scale for the following reasons:
- Drones can help improve crop quality.
- The drones are cost-effective as it saves up a lot of labor cost.
- Decisions relating to field and farm management becomes quick and easy.
- Remedies can be decided quite easily.
- The use of drones allows chunks of field-related data to be available at once.
- Better decisions can be taken after analysis of all data points.
Future of Agricultural Drones
According to the report published by Zion Market Research, the global agricultural drone market is valued at around $673.79 million in 2015. It is expected to reach $2,978.69 million by 2021, growing at CARG of above 28.11% between 2016 to 2021.
Among all the smart farming methods and tools, drones are undoubtedly appropriate and most widely used. Farmers are implementing this technology into their operation and realizing the power of this technology while generating a higher profit and lower environmental impact.
Some of the extensively used drones in the agriculture sector are Sense FLY, PrecisionHawk, Sense FLY, AgDrone, Honeycomb, etc.
The use of an agricultural drone is a new technological wave in the farming sector, to meet the growing demand of the future. The changing climate patterns and environmental pollution are demanding efficient agriculture. This is possible only by the implementation of new technologies in the agriculture industry.