Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles are now more popular than ever before and are used for a plethora of purposes from combat and military uses to recreational uses. One of the major uses of drones and the biggest potential market has been predicted to be Agriculture.
Agriculture is a sector that exists not only across the world but is also one that will never die out because of another industry’s boom. According to a report by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Agriculture could account for 80 percent of the world commercial drone market.
The report also estimates that annual sales of drones for purposes of agriculture will reach 160,000 by 2025, compared with fewer than 20,000 for other uses.
Many farmers are now looking towards drones to help them gain valuable data about their crops. A study by Informa Economics and Measure, a drone service provider company, found that corn, soybean and wheat farmers could save $1.3 billion annually by using drones. Farmers could study various aspects of their fields using drones and estimate the amount of fertilizer, pesticides and other farm inputs required.
Drones are also used for scouting for weeds in some crops, identifying diseases in other crops, or to see effects to weather on the plants. Many farmers with large areas of land have reported saving money by reducing fertilizer inputs due to correct estimates that were made using drones.
There are many concerns that often come with new technology and with drones it has been privacy. Farmers remain concerned that their privacy could be compromised due to drone usage. However it is now becoming a sought after technology and is quickly caching on as more farmers are ready to try it out on their farms.
Drones too are improving. Technology is a lot better now than in the initial days of agriculture drones, one farmer says. Good quality cameras and networks mean better images and quicker transmission.
Many farmers say they are looking to use drones to help increase profits along with using the best means to protect their natural resources. Soil data, weather data and other crop related data can be available. However while drone usage has certainly increased it hasn’t reached anywhere near the levels it could, some experts said.
For larger fields usage of more than one drone is necessary and investing in a swarm of drones may not be up everyone’s alley right now. Most experts suggest farmers start off with a relatively inexpensive model.
While data collection becomes easier with drones, actually interpreting that data into actionable information is still another thing that not everyone is well versed and could take some time to get used to.
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