Drones, Drones, Drones
When technology is first introduced, it is usually implemented in stages to ensure the effectiveness of the new processes that occur because of the change. Unfortunately (and fortunately), technology is evolving at a rate that can mean your brand new purchase is outdated in 2-3 years and with high investment costs, you need to know that your product can withstand the test of time. New innovations are pushed aside by harsh competition and farmers want the best tech for their operation and worker efficiency.
You’ve heard us say over and over that by 2050, there will be over nine billion people living on our planet. This estimation hasn’t changed to much, but has pushed our industry forward with immense pressure. Ergo, luck would have it that a variety of new, innovative technologies are available each and every day. The marketplace is currently hosting anything from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)/Drones to software and hosting platforms for technology that monitors and maps crops lifetime and growth.
Mato Grosso, Brazil is one of the latest places to boom in the UAV industry. Drones have become used daily in pasture and crop production for areas that are able to invest in the new tech. Edson, Jabur, the drone instructor accredited to the National Rural Apprenticeship Service of Mato Grosso (SENAR-MT), using drones has transformed the life of producers and growers. Jabur states that the drones can be used to perform regular check-ups on the development of the crop, capturing images and analysing them in chronological order. This means that managers and workfloor staff are able to target specific problem areas and attack them head on; without needing to check every crop to find an issue.
Drones are used for many purposes in the agriculture and horticulture industry. Currently we see drones being used for pest and disease control and detection, irrigation monitoring, identifying planting flaws, maintain plant vigour and inspecting the structural integrity of the growing areas.
The reason such technologies exist in our society nowadays is due to the collaboration between growers and farmers to find the best technological fix to their modern day issues. “That is, there is no use having modern and expensive equipment if there is no exchange of experiences among professionals” says Mauricio Nicocelli Netto, a writer for PrecisionAg. Working in a community allows everyone to pick and choose the best opportunities that technology has to offer; community is key.
SENAR-MT has recently launched a training program aimed at teaching farmers and growers all about new drone technology. It is currently aimed at larger scale operations like rural producers but is adaptable to larger scale greenhouses. “Since it was made available in the institution’s portfolio in September 2016, we have trained more than 180 rural producers in several municipalities in Mato Grosso,” said Otávio Celidonio, the superintendent of SENAR-MT. “The expectation is that by the end of 2017, more than 240 people will do this training.”
Netto currently consults a handful of farmers in Mato Grosso where drones are used to evaluate the quality of crop growth. “With the use of the Drone Deploy platform, we created flight plans and have managed to get excellent orthomosaic photos.”
Using this tool, farmers were easily able to identify specific operational photos, pressure variations on planting lines, pest attacks, autopilot problems and germination of specific seed lots.
Drone technology/UAV tech is one that we should be following daily. In 2017, we have seed speedy advances in the world of drones and their uses, not only in the horticulture or agriculture industry, but in our daily lives as professionals and consumers. With companies like amazon constantly drone testing for deliveries, maybe one day these drones will be able to be precise enough to pick your crop for you as well…. But as always, time will tell.
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