Let’s explore the extensive application of drones and UAS in the agriculture industry.
In the previous article — Drones 101: History, Mechanics & Industrial Applications we’ve discussed the origins of drones and the science at work and various drone applications in industry.
But, we’ve barely scratched the surface, especially about the industrial applications of drones as there are a whole lot more to explore!
In this article, we will discuss in-depth about the utilisation of the technology of drones on the industrial scale, especially agriculture drone.
Drones now are widely applied across different industries, especially now, in the agriculture area because of its efficiency, lower cost and convenience. Let’s explore how exactly drones are rapidly changing the landscape of efficiency in the agriculture industry.
Mapping in farming was not considered important for a successful harvest or great crops arrangement, but now, it is considered as a vital part of modern farming practice, all thanks to the help from drone technology.
Mapping in agriculture now is used to plan the crop arrangement in order to achieve the optimum capacity for higher harvest rate, survey the terrain and elevation on the farm’s land, and soil analysis.
Mapping also is important in the sense that there will be no empty spaces in the vast plantation to push the harvest rate. Also, mapping is very important to plan out the routes for irrigation, pesticide & fertiliser spraying, and harvesting.
Lately, there is an emergence of practice to use drones to not only mapping and monitoring, but also to kick-off the planting process. You can see now that drones are being used for seeding.
This is due to the fact that UAV can deliver the process with more uniform spread and higher success rate. These systems shoot pods with seeds and plant nutrients into the soil, providing the plant all the nutrients necessary to sustain life.
Monitoring crops on a regular basis throughout the planting cycle is extremely crucial. This is to determine the individual health level of the plants in making sure that the plants are healthy and if there are any infections or problems (such as lack of water, nutrients, etc).
Detecting infections or problems are important as farmers can administer preventive measure to avoid them from spreading further and doing more damage to the crops.
This process is done by observing the light spectrum absorbed and reflected by the leaf. This method is called as Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI).
NDVI is captured by the mounted payloads (cameras) that capture the non-visible light, particularly the light in/near the infrared fringe. This is on the basis that healthy plants absorb visible light and reflect near-infrared (NIR) light.
The healthier the plant is, the more NIR light will be reflected.
Using drones as a spraying medium is now replacing the traditional backpack spraying operated manually by the labour force. This popularity may be credited to the proven efficiency of using a drone for spraying that can easily cover a wide area of land in a single day.
The conventional backpack spraying is sometimes rendered as ineffective and costly, not to mention, hazardous. The area that can be covered manually by the labour force depends on the numbers and productivity of the workers.
This makes knapsack spraying method more expensive and inefficient compared to drone spraying. The longer duration is taken for the backpack spraying to be completed thus caused pressing issues such as pest infestation or fungal infection cannot be dealt with in time and contributed to the total loss in harvest/profitability.
And there are few more concerns raised in concerning the hazardous effect of the direct exposure of harmful chemicals to the workers handling the spraying work.
Drone spraying method has the ability to address the issues involved in the typical backpack spraying. In terms of area coverage, a drone can cover much higher area compared to the manual method.
For example, Poladrone’s own Pola-V15 spraying drone can cover up to 20 hectares a day. Pola-V15 is designed by Poladrone’s own experts and engineers and assembled here in Malaysia and has helped many farmers and business owners nationwide to gain more harvest and profitability.
We at Poladrone have always passionate about providing effective, fast and affordable industrial solutions by bringing drone into the picture. We are specialised in integrating drone technology not only in the agriculture field but also few other major sectors such as construction, oil and gas and many more.
Interested in our operation and services? You can view more here: Poladrone’s Services
Drone technology as a whole is getting more and more innovative and advanced day by day. It is not possible that one day, labour-induced tasks in farming (or any industry) can be replaced with a fully automated system by integration of drone into the workflow.
Industrial drone is getting more acceptance these days, as the results are reliable and accurate and time (and cost) saving thus directly contributed to the overall profit maximisation.
If you would like to learn more about drone technology in agriculture and other industries, feel free to contact Poladrone.
Featured image via Interesting Engineering