When most people think of farming, the first thing that comes to mind is waking up at the crack of dawn to get started on a long day of back breaking work. That perception is not completely wrong, but technology has lightened the load a little for farmers. Now drones are becoming the latest tool that can prove to be useful on a farm. It is suggested that farmers can use drones to help determine and modify their water usage. This could attract more people to farming. It makes cultivating crops easier, by taking some of the guess work out of it. Using this method eliminates the trial and error phase of producing crops. It can potentially revolutionize the way farms are ran and could have a positive effect on the amount of crops that are being produced.
A team of researchers have recently tested the amount of water being consumed by crops by attaching a visual and an infrared camera to a drone. They let the Drone fly over a barley field in Denmark and captured thermal images of the field. Using the images, farmers can then see which areas of their fields need less or more water. This technology can help farmers determine the best time to water their crops and which areas of the field could use more attention to prevent. The food and agriculture industry uses 70% of the world’s water. With the drone flying over the fields and telling the farmers which areas that do not need water and which parts of the field are dead and past restoration, this new way of determining water stress levels is great for preventing tons of gallons of water from being wasted on crops that don’t need it.
Not only can farmers save water, but money and time can be saved as well. Being able to pinpoint which areas of the field need less or more water allows farmers to zero in on specific areas instead of watering the entire field and hoping that all the crops make it. The water saved could go toward other things such as farm animals. Using drones to detect water stress levels allows farmers to drastically optimize their water use and reduce pollutant runoff.
How Does the Drone Work?
A battery operated drone was the type tested on the barley field in Denmark. It used cameras “to collect both optical and thermal information”. The images taken by the cameras were then analyzed by the researchers. They measured the greenness and temperature of the barley field. The temperature of the plants indicated how much water the near by air and soil contain. The barley field is dissected into 25 by 25 cm patches, and using the images, a water stress level map is created. The map tells farmers which parts of the field need more or less water. Researchers tested the drone’s findings by comparing the actual soil samples that they took from the same barley field the drone took images of.
This method of learning the water stress levels of a farm is sure to catch the eye of anyone who owns or runs a farm. You can be sure that this will be a hot topic in the agriculture industry. The use of drones has proven to be very useful in many major aspects of our lives now. The only thing that may prevent a farmer from using this method of cultivating crops is not knowing how to use a drone.
Flex Air is the solution to that problem. Flex Air offers training courses on how to operate drones and other UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). There is even a course specifically for thermal and infrared operations, which will be very informative when it comes to detecting water stress levels on a farm. Flex Air can make this a farm chore that is actually fun to do.