The agricultural drone has joined the league of smartphones to become farmer’s choice when it comes to the use of technological-driven tools on the farm. Farmers make use of them to perform various operations on the farm ranging from plant health monitoring to other activities such as pest control and the likes. Drones are easy, cheaper and more autonomous due to the achievement recorded in the development of its software, this rapid software development saves the farmer from the use of a specialized drone Pilot.
The major factor that has hindered the widespread use of agricultural drones is the cost implications associated with its use and the complexity in terms of operation and control. The use of technological driven drones requires some level of knowledge in modern Technology. Due to these factors, their use has not been very encouraging since their inception about 20years ago. For instance, about 2 percent of all farmers in China have actually used an Agricultural drone. Considering the technological status of China, a majority of farmers in China ought to embrace the use of this equipment.
The advent of Smartphone has greatly improved the use of drones among farmers. The use of the equipment has been significantly simplified with the help of modern software that comes with Smartphone. The smartphone applications that are currently available have Agricultural drone semi-autonomous thereby simplifying its use. The equipment is now very easy to use, what is required of the farmer is to mark the farm area on his telephone and leave the rest for the drone.
Pros of drones in Agriculture
A drone can be used to spray fertilizers and insecticides
One of the great advantages of using the best agriculture drones is that it saves farmer the rigorous work of fertilizer and insecticide application. Agricultural drones are capable of spraying fertilizers and insecticide thereby reducing human exposure to insecticide. It should be noted that continuous exposure to insecticides increases the chances of developing various kinds of diseases in human. Therefore, it is better and safe to employ the use of drones in fertilizers and insecticide application.
Agricultural drones can be used to monitor moisture
Another area where the drone can be of great importance is the monitoring of farmland to detect areas that are drier or wetter than the other. This is important because most farmlands are susceptible to extreme weather condition rendering them dry or wet. Drones are very useful in this area to pinpoint portions of the farm that are in dry or wet condition. The use of a drone is very essential because it prevents a farmer from losing crops to dry or wet natural circumstances. The agriculture drones hover around the farmland to detect any dangerous condition that might affect crops adversely. The drone will not only monitor the farmland closely, it will also transmit its findings to the farmer.
Agricultural drones are easy to use
Simplicity is a plus for drones; agricultural drones are very easy to use and launch in the atmosphere. The movements and operation can be easily controlled on mobile phones. A simple manual is also available to guide farmers on the appropriate use of the equipment.
Agricultural drones reduce Farmers operational cost
The use of Agricultural drones will greatly reduce the use of manual labor thereby reducing labor cost in the process. The equipment helps the farmer to improve quality of crops by exposing crop infestation on regular basis. This will not only prevent the farmer from spending extra money on crop protection, it also helps the farmer make maximum profit by selling quality farm produce. Also, in order to prevent spoiled crops from reaching the market, UAC can be deployed to assist the farmers in farmland monitoring.
Cons of Drones in Agriculture
One of the major challenges facing the use of Agricultural drones is the Legal restriction. The National Aviation Administration is a body that directs the use of drones in private and commercial areas. All drones that weigh between 0.25kg and 55kg must be subjected to a compulsory authorization by the FAA. Drones which weighs 55kg and above have higher limits. Few among the relation guiding drone user are;dronesarenot permitted outside the line of vision or under covered structure and users are not permitted to soar drones over people that are not included in their operation.
To get a drone license, farmers have to surmount the hurdles of passing drone exams. Passing the exam will equip farmers with the basic knowledge of drone operation. Farmers are allowed to operate drones once they successfully go through the commercial drone exams. The FAA employs the use of spotter to ensure that the drones are obvious in sight.
Inadequate Knowledge of the use of drones
One of the factors militating against the use of an Agricultural drone is the lack of technical know-how. Farmers are not skilled and they are technically equipped to operate drones. Farmers must learn how to use and operate drones before deploying the device in their respective farms. It must be noted that it takes quality time to understand how agriculture drones are operated.
Limitation due to the flight route
Space limitation is another discouraging factor. But, this measure is put in place to avoid capturing the same trip route to another flying device and to avoid possible interference with other drones. Drones are capable of destroying propeller engine, therefore, airport authority frowns at the use of drowns.
Drones are Expensive
The prices of Agricultural drones are too expensive for farmers. Their price ranges from $10,000 to $20,000. In addition to the high cost of drones, there are other drone accessories that are also costly.