Technology

A Guide to Choosing the Right Drones for Precision Agriculture

With the advancement of technology in every aspect of the society, there is no surprise that agriculture is also keeping up. If you are a farmer, you probably heard about agricultural drones. These UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are making a buzz these days and there is no doubt that it will change the face of farming and cultivation in the coming years.

Drones for Agriculture provide the farmers with new opportunities to make their agricultural processes efficient and easier. The drones are equipped with high-tech sensors and imaging capabilities that help farmers monitor and improve crop health. Additionally, drones can check storm damage by scouting the fields and it can optimise water usage.

You can operate it or you can consider agriculture service professionals who can monitor the health of crops and livestock on behalf of you. Employing drones is part of farming management concept called precision agriculture. Ultimately, drones can increase yields and return on investment. If you consider buying your own, here are some things that you should consider when choosing the right drone:

Determine the type of drone
You should know that there are two types of agricultural drone: fixed-wing and multi-rotor drone. Most farmers prefer fixed-wing drones because it can spend more time in the air thereby covering more area. Aside from that, fixed-wing can also carry more loads. This means that it can carry more sensors. However, fixed-wing is expensive.

Multi-rotor, on the other hand, is cheaper. However, it does not make it less productive. It features multi-spectral cameras and software for image processing. More and more farmers are considering the best of both worlds – instead of buying only one, they buy less expensive versions of both.

Check the camera
The cheapest type of sensor and the most common is a high-resolution camera. It can take VIS (Visible Wavelength Images). If it comes with the right filters, it can take NIR (Near-infrared Images). Remember that the minimum image resolution is 12 megapixels – GoPro Hero 3 and 4 have this image resolution. Additionally, choose a camera with a “fish-eye” lens because it will shoot more area in a single shot.

Look for multi-spectral
There are things on the ground that a visual-spectrum camera cannot see. For this, you have to look for multi-spectral imaging sensors. For this sensor, it can help you identify wet spots on the ground.

Consider LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging)
LIDAR is a detection system that uses the light from the laser. Basically, it is a remote sensing technology that has the capacity to measure the distance by illuminating the target with a laser. LIDAR can help develop a precise 3D model of a particular area.

Choose thermal sensors
Another feature that you should consider is thermal sensors. Thermal sensors can detect hotspots and gauge the changes in the presence of water. The sensor is important as it can help you identify crop damage because of drought.

Definitely, Drones for Agriculture are here to stay. There are no signs for this technology to abate, which makes sense because it can boost productivity and lessen input costs thereby improving yields.

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