Drones and Agriculture: a perfect marriage

In my last post on reinforcing natural birds, I talked about how drone technology has changed the way we do things as humans. I mentioned that one of the industries or sectors in which the technology of drones has found a massive application is agriculture. It is no news that the agricultural sector is witnessing significant changes daily as the usage of technologies in the farming system is constantly evolving. Modern and precise farm technologies are being introduced to revolutionize the agricultural sector.


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By Agridrones Solutions Israel - Agridrones Solutions Israel, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72035069

Technologies like farm management software, high technology sensing devices based on GPS, and other technologies are being used to optimize farming and make farming easier and fun for farmers. These new technologies ensure more productivity and profitability for farmers. From using hoes and cutlasses to cultivate to using tractors then to using software and high sensing technologies. The agricultural sector shifted from manual farming to mechanized farming and more recently, to modern and precision farming.

In this era of precision farming, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly known as a drone is one of the most essential technologies used in the agricultural industry. The employment of drone technology in the agricultural sector is steadily growing as part of an effective approach to sustainable agriculture.
Initially, when drone technology was introduced to the agriculture industry, it was used in spraying chemicals and watering plants, but today, they are a great tool in capturing high-resolution images of crop conditions. Drones are used in monitoring the crop health to protect the crops from pests, for vegetation indices such as anomaly detection, phenology.

They are used in monitoring the plant height and density, plant size, water needs of the plant and to determine the nutrient of the plant and soil. This helps reduce the overall cost of farm production and helps secure high yield and quality crops.
Though the commercial usage of drones started as far back as the early 1980s, their deployment in the agricultural sector started in the last decade and it's taking the industry to a whole new level. According to a report by Meticulous Research, drone agriculture will be worth more than 5 billion dollars by 2025.

What are the Specific Benefits of Using Drone in Agriculture?

The benefits of using drone technology in the agriculture sector are numerous as drones are helping farmers address several of the challenges they face in the industry. Though the major benefit of the drone is to increase the overall efficiency of the farmer, there is also more to it. Some of the benefits include:

  • The drone technology helps to improve and increase the productivity of the farmer. The world population is growing day by day and the demand for agricultural produce is also increasing. The farmers need to produce crops to match the increasing demand for agricultural produce and also monitor the produce at the same time which is posing a big obstacle for the farmer. With the help of drone technology, these obstacles faced by the farmers can be easily overcome.

  • Drones can be used to optimize inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and other chemicals. It also allows farmers to administer these inputs in a targeted manner by collecting data that helps the farmer spray the precise amount of inputs on the field to avoid over-spraying.

  • Drones are excellent in collecting a vast amount of high-quality images and videos of the farmland in a short period, allowing the farmers to provide necessary solutions quickly.

  • The drone technology can be used to attend to a variety of farming needs such as spraying fertilizers and other chemicals, watering the crops, identifying weed manifestations and other threats, and monitoring crop health. They can be used to quickly and easily analyze the entire field at once.

  • The drone technology uses GPS, so it can be programmed and maneuvered to a precise location. Drones can fly in a precise direction and they can easily navigate hard-to-access areas, thereby saving the farmer’s time and cost.

  • Drones are a good technology in helping farmers detect threats on the farmland faster. Threats such as weeds, pests, fungal or bacterial infections. This will allow the farmer to respond rapidly to such threats and administer precise remedies to increase the crop’s ability to overcome threats quickly. In a situation of natural disaster on the field such as drought, flood, storm, drones equipped with the right imaging equipment can collect and gather valuable data and also estimate crop loss during and after the disaster. This can help to speed up recovery efforts and aid in security while mitigating both risk and field maintenance costs.


A drone being used to deliever agrochemical to a sugarcane field. Source: pixabay

  • Finally, drones equipped with the right equipment and used optimally can help to increase the overall efficiency and productivity of the farmers as they will be able to achieve a lot in a short period. Making optimal use of drone technology can also help to increase the crops produced and eventually increase the profit of the farmers.

Final Note

There is no doubt that the use of drones in agriculture has been and will become more important in the nearest future as the human population continues to increase. Even presently, the world is experiencing a food shortage worsened by the impact of the Covid19 pandemic. In order for the planet to be food sufficient, all hands must on deck and the best approach should be taken towards agriculture and food production. All the benefits that drones have to offer food production/agriculture would have to be harnessed.

Thank you all for reading.

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