How Drones Help Farmers

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In agriculture, it turns out that what you don’t know can hurt you – or at least hurt your bottom line. Drone technology gives farmers a way to find out what they don’t know.

For instance, the aerial photos and videos taken by basic drones provide a detailed, big-picture view. “They enable you to scout large fields without having to actually walk them,” says Matthew Armbruster, who teaches agriculture science at South Newton High School. “You can use the camera and screen to find infield areas that are wet or that might need to be replanted.”

More advanced drones have additional benefits. “They are equipped with cameras that can read light levels,” Armbruster says. “That gives us information on photosynthesis, so we can determine how well the plant is growing throughout the season.”

Because the technology stores such data on a memory card, drones provide farmers with a historical record of their operations from planting to harvest and from year to year.

Add it all together, and using a drone improves the probability of success on the farm. If you don’t have to walk the fields, you save time and money. If you know where and when to replant, your crop yields and profits improve. If you can see how your conservation or irrigation methods are working during the season, you can be quick to make adjustments. In short, the data provided by drones gives a bird’s-eye view of what’s going on in fields so farmers can make informed decisions.

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