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Agricultural Drones: A Skilled Tool for Sustainable Agriculture

Who would have thought that farm drones would be at the forefront of advancing sustainable agriculture today? From toys for gadget enthusiasts to essential agricultural tools, drones have come a long way from their initial purpose. But how did it get there, how can it be used for farming, and what can we expect from it in the near future? Let’s discuss this further below.

Farm Drones Then and Now

Early agricultural drones had a hard time proving their worth. For instance, you would expect to spend around $10-30,000 on fixed-wing drones equipped with a high-definition camera and only flying at midrange distances. If you were to add image stitching software and computer hardware necessary for processing drone maps, you would spend several thousand more.

Such high costs for very little benefit were tough for most farmers to stomach. For the persistent few who pushed through with using farm drones, the collected data didn’t rise to their expectations. After all, they were promised big things but were delivered underwhelming results. Remember, though, that this was during drone technology’s infancy.

Over the past several years, drones have made leaps and bounds in technological advances. Modern drones have more efficient motors and extended battery life. Quadcopters are also now easier to produce. Thanks to this, drone hardware prices became more accessible for average agricultural professionals.

The mapping process is now more user-friendly. Before, a farmer would have to gather data and stitch the map using a desktop computer. Now, users can upload the collected data to the cloud using a smartphone or tablet, and that’s where the images will be processed. Mapping software companies will take care of the rest while the farmer waits for the results.

While drones are making great headway in the farming industry, they are expected to branch out from the agricultural industry in the near future.


How Farming Drones are Contributing to Agricultural Sustainability

Farmers have to find solutions to combat the effects of climate change on crops. They also need to prevent crop disease and implement pest control, adding new layers of complexity to the already laborious agricultural process.

Thanks to the increased use of drones for farming, farmers can protect their crops and make farming more efficient. They can reduce labour costs and use resources more efficiently, contributing to agricultural sustainability. This technology has also made smart agriculture possible.

Smart Farming and Precision Farming

Exponential population growth has continuously increased food demand, putting pressure on farmers to produce adequate supply with limited resources. Because of this, farmers chose to shift from traditional and complex farming management to smart farming. It focuses on maximising data to ensure best practices for resource management and operational efficiency while increasing profitability.

Apart from farming drones, other technologies like IoT, robotics, and AI are also used to optimise human labour and increase the quantity and quality of crops. With the data gathered, farmers can implement precision farming.

Through precise measurements of what individual aspects of a farm needs, farmers can help their crops and livestock thrive. Moreover, this process can be done per square meter and can be tailored per plant/animal. In simple terms, precision farming ensures that crops and livestock get the exact treatment they need using machines with superhuman accuracy.

Agricultural Application of Drones

The use of drones in agriculture across Australia’s innovative farms has been on the rise in recent years, and many are realising the untapped potential of this technology. From photo capturing to livestock monitoring and future crop planning, drones have plenty of agricultural applications that farmers can use.

Listed below are some examples of the use of drones in agriculture.


Photo Capturing

Drones can quickly determine whether an agricultural area is a tight space or a wide-open field by capturing high-quality images and turning them into detailed maps. The best part is that users won’t need to disturb the surrounding environment.

By having a detailed map of the area, farmers can make better plans for their seed planting patterns by having a detailed map of the site and stay up to date on the plants’ progress. They can also conduct soil analysis and address issues that arise in real-time, such as pests, crop yield, changing weather, and unwanted visitors.

Pesticide and Fertiliser Distribution

Using a drone for agriculture management can be seen more readily through pesticide and fertiliser distribution. Unlike traditional methods where farmers manually distribute pesticides or fertilisers throughout the area, drones can do the job for them. Another option is using crop dusters, but doing so is more expensive and dangerous.

Replacing crop dusters with drones is a no-brainer since farmers can equip them with large reservoirs for herbicides, fertilisers, or pesticides. Additionally, drones can precisely measure plant health and control the strength of the sprays. It results in fewer chemicals used, reducing wastage and lowering long-term environmental impact.

Livestock Monitoring

Using drones, ranchers can constantly keep track of their cattle’s whereabouts. They can also use it to detect sick or injured cattle, find lost cattle, and keep count of the animals. Aside from keeping track of the animals’ welfare, ranchers can also use drones to analyse their grazing patterns and monitor their behaviour.

Keep your livestock safe from feral animals and keep them away from potentially dangerous areas by efficiently surveying the area with drones.

Crop Planning

Farmers can use agricultural drones to identify areas with the most suitable planting soil conditions remotely. They can also get a good view of hard-to-reach areas on their property. It makes planning easier as they can also decide where to plant which type of crops.

Some advanced models also allow you to shoot pods containing seeds and nutrients directly into the soil. They enable farmers to perform the planting process without the need for traditional machinery or manual labour, reducing the overall cost of planting.


Drones for Farming

Farm drones are proving to be the revolutionary solution to advancing sustainable agriculture, making backbreaking labour and traditional farming a thing of the past. So if you want to be part of this innovation and invest in your own agricultural drones, get yours at XAG Australia. They are manufacturers of first-class agriculture technology that aims to advance agriculture and provide solutions for smart farming.

Modern farming problems require modern solutions. Make your farm future-ready and take advantage of XAG Australia’s proven track record of excellence. If you are interested in knowing more about how drones are used in agriculture, contact XAG Australia.

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