By Russ Banham
There was a time when the idea of spraying insecticide and fertilizer on crops from the air seemed farfetched. Today airplanes do exactly that. Now the agricultural industry is considering another type of airborne vehicle — drones.
More farmers are using the unmanned aircraft systems to maximize the efficiency of agriculture, increasing crop yields at reduced cost, effort and impact on the environment.
Drones equipped with specialized cameras wirelessly linked to location software and mapping tools can survey fields from above to detect and diagnose crop stresses. Armed with this data, farmers can take corrective actions.
Although the use of drones in farming is in its formative stages, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International anticipates that farms will eventually account for an 80 percent share of the commercial drone market globally.