In my Agricultural Communications class, we recently researched and gave presentations on different current issues in agriculture. One of the topics that was presented was the use of drones in agriculture. I found this concept very interesting and even fascinating so I decided to do a little bit of research for myself.
When drones were first being invented in the 1990s, Steve Morris imagined that they could be used to help farmers collect data over fields. However, the technology was instead used for military purposes and has since only been equipment for professionals. Drones’ impact on the military has been very great and well known. It’s military uses reiterate how powerful drones can be.
This powerful technology is now being made more available for other uses besides the military. Now, small drones have been rapidly decreasing in price, to less than $1000, causing farmers to explore how they could be helpful in farming.
This new use for drones raises questions of how safe and how useful they could be. The Federal Aviation Administration has to change their laws before agricultural drones would be legal for farmers to use. Citizens are also concerned about the safety of flying them and the possible invasion of privacy to neighbors.
Drones would allow farmers to be more time efficient and have a better idea of how their entire crop is doing. It could potentially replace the difficult job of farmers having to scout their crops on foot, which takes a lot of time and only allows farmers to check on small areas of their fields.
I know this would be great for my dad. Scouting fields is one of the most difficult and time consuming things he does in the summer. These drones would be especially useful in monitoring the areas that have problems with invasive weeds. However, I also have to think about the likelihood of my dad and other farmers being able to learn how to operate the drones safely and effectively. This could be a challenge, not to mention that the more technology you use, the more the technology could break or something could go wrong.
Being here on campus helps me realize all the research that is going into new agricultural technologies like drones. The agricultural community on campus is constantly doing research and testing new products for use in the industry. If agricultural drones become more popular, they could change the way agricultural machinery is produced and could potentially change farming techniques all together. I’m excited to see if the use of drones in agriculture will take flight!