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How can UAVs help agriculture businesses?

UAVs have a range of uses in agricultural applications. From crop inspection to keeping track of livestock, they're changing the way farmers work. 

Pegasus UAVAustralia's farms and other agricultural facilities are some of the largest in the world. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that some can even reach up to 500,000 hectares in size. 

The country's farmers rely on a range of vehicles to survey their crops, livestock and other facilities, with some on these larger properties turning to planes and helicopters in an effort to keep track of everything. 

However, this isn't an economical solution for all agricultural businesses, especially as the vast majority (around 70 per cent) are no larger than 100 hectares, according to the ABS. These cases demand cost-effective solutions that don't sacrifice functionality, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) - also commonly referred to as drones. 

Farmers embrace UAVs
The UAV market is rapidly expanding as businesses in a range of industries begin to realise the many ways the technology can benefit their operations. So far, this has included mining companies and law enforcement agencies. 

Innova Research investigated these trends, finding that the increased adoption across various different industries will result in sustained growth for the technology. The firm is forecasting UAV sales to grow 32.5 per cent annually until 2019, thanks to renewed interest in commercial sectors such as agriculture, forestry and mining.

How is the agriculture industry using UAVs?
UAVs can be equipped with different attachments to change their applications. While most people will be familiar with the addition of high-definition cameras to these devices, there are further options for more specialised functionality. 
For example, farmers could attach spectral cameras to their drones before flying it over their crops, allowing them to capture performance data from the air. This is a time- and cost-effective solution for farmers, and just one example of the many uses UAVs have in agricultural businesses.

In a September 28 interview with Farm Industry News, Agronomist Kristina Polziehn discussed how she uses camera-equipped drones to identify and respond to weed and disease threats that could impact the success of her crops.

"By using this information, growers and agronomists can be more informed on the severity of the weed population and more targeted in the control options required to manage those weed populations," she explained.  

UAVs are being utilised by agriculture professionals for a range of purposes, including:

  • Checking and monitoring watering points (bores, dams, windmills etc.)
  • Weed and disease identification
  • Crop monitoring and analysis
  • Silo and windmill inspections
  • Aerial spraying
  • Mustering
  • Bird control

Getting started
There are a range of regulations you need to comply with when using UAVs for commercial purposes, see our infographic to learn more about how to operate your UAV safely and effectively.

Redstack can assist by providing aerial UAV services for you, or Redstack can provide all the software, hardware, training and support you need to obtain and operate your own UAV.  Contact one of our UAV consultants today to discuss a customised solution to meet your specific needs.

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