Drones in Agriculture - Crops and Livestock

The Game of Drones in Agriculture

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How Agriculture Drones Are Changing the Agriculture Industry

Drone technology is a fantastic innovation that, in the present age, is enjoying effects that are far-reaching, helping us to transform our lives and the way how business is done.

Recently, the industry of agriculture has embraced the introduction of drones in agriculture in order to improve modern farming by the use of these advanced tools. High tech drones are enabling farmers and their operators (drone pilots) to maximize efficiency in specific aspects of the process of farming. From managing livestock, irrigation map, crop spraying, crop planting and monitoring, etc.

Agriculture drones are helping to achieve and make improvements in precision agriculture. This is the approach to the management of farms that is based on measuring, observing, and taking necessary actions considering the real-time data of crops and livestock. It eliminates guesswork’s need in modern farming and enables farmers to run their operations smoothly and ensures maximized yields while enhancing the production of crops.

The cost of drones used in agriculture has faced a rapid decline. It has minimized the rate of investment done by modern farmers as well as became the reason for the explosion of drone use cases.

Agricultural drones are used for several purposes including:

  • Scouting crops and land.
  • Spot treating the plants and checking for weeds.
  • Monitoring the health of crops.
  • Livestock management and monitoring for any issues of health and much more.

Drones have technologies installed like infrared cameras, propulsion systems, programmable controllers, automated flight planning, and GPS and navigation systems. The data processing software which is custom made, any information that is collected can quickly be used for making decisions in order to ensure better management.

Drones for Tracking Crops

The biggest benefit of using agriculture drones is the effectiveness and ease of large-scale acreage and crop monitoring. In the past, plane or satellite imagery was the ultimate source to achieve a farm’s large scale view and for spotting any potential issues.

However, they (images) were very expensive as well as lacked the accuracy that drones are able to provide. In the present age, you are able to receive footage in real-time and also an animation that is time-based through which the progression of crops can be illuminated in real-time.

With drone surveying and mapping, it is easier to make technology decisions with the help of data obtained in real-time. No need to rely on guesswork and outdated imagery.

It is easier to determine the health of plants based upon the absorption of light, through near-infrared drone sensors. Agriculture drones can help you collect information like:

  • The overall plant and crop health.
  • Distribution of land on the basis of crop type.
  • The current life cycle of crops.
  • Detailed GPS map of your current crop area.

Drones can help farmers to maximize the use of land and resources and determine the best locations for planting crops.

Drones for Tracking Cattle

Drones that are equipped with thermal imaging cameras allow farmers to monitor and manage livestock. Farmers can easily keep track of their animals with less investment of staff and less time.

The operator of the drone can rapidly check-in on animals in order to see if any animal is missing or injured as well as he can monitor the animals who are giving birth. Drones allow farmers to run a quick security check on the herd whenever they want.

Thermal imaging helps to keep an eye out on any predators that can cause damage to the farm or animals. This can keep farm owners at ease all the time.

How the Use of Drones in Agriculture Impact Farm Efficiency

The use of drones in agriculture is benefitting farm operators and other related individuals of the agricultural industry in several ways. Farmers are now able to save time and money while they maximize their knowledge about patterns of growth of different types of crops. Drones can help farmers to increase farm productivity and maximize environmental production.

Use of Drones to Boost Crop Yields

To obtain the data of existing soil condition in the beginning, middle, and end of the crop cycle can be made easy by using drones. 3D maps of the soil will help farmers to check if there are any potential issues regarding the quality of the soil. Also, it can help them track the management of nutrients and zones where the soil is dead.

The collected data can allow farmers to adopt planting patterns that are most effective. Also, they can take care of issues relating to soil and crop management. On-going monitoring will enable farmers to make use of water resources and allow them to manage the nutrient level of their crops.

Planting by using drones is an advanced technology and it is not yet adopted by many farms but most companies in the agriculture industry are experimenting with drone planting. Manufacturers are using systems that are able to shoot seedpods into the soil that is prepared for planting.

This advanced technology is reducing the need for on-the-ground plantation as it is time-consuming, expensive, and needs staff investment.

For maintaining high yields, crops require consistent spraying and fertilization. This has been done manually in past years, via airplane or vehicles. But these methods were not very much efficient and they were expensive as well.

Using drones for spraying fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides is easier and a cost-effective method. Drones can be programmed to run autonomously on certain specified routes and schedules. A fungus breakout can be treated by using drones before it spreads across all the crops.

Spot spraying used to be challenging. If there were any issues with a certain crop or weeds, farmers would have to spray the entire acreage. It was not only time consuming but also a waste of useful resources. Drones offering spot spraying can help farmers to complete this task in much less time and with very few resources and reduced costs.

Drone surveying and mapping can help farmers or drone operators to check for potential risks and enables them to take tech decision on basis of the data that is achieved in real-time and not on the basis of outdated imagery or guesswork.

Drones can also help with irrigation. There are more chances of issues when you have many miles of irrigation. Drones that have thermal cameras can help farmers to know about issues regarding spot irrigation or areas where there is excessive or very little moisture.

This information can be used for maximizing the drainage. Avoiding water pooling is essential as it can damage sensitive crops.

Meet the Cowboy Drones Who Will Track, Move, Count, and Manage Cattle

Drones that have thermal imaging cameras installed allows the drone operator to easily monitor the farm animals. This is how farmers can easily track their animals at a greater frequency. This can not only consume less time but also reduce staff investment.

These drones can help drone operators to check if all animals are fine and if any of them is injured, missing, or giving birth. It enables farmers to receive real-time information about their livestock without investing a large sum of money or spending too much time.

This method can help keep away any predators who can do damage to the farm property of the animals. Hence, farmers can run a quick security check whenever they want.

Drones are contributing to the betterment of livestock farming as they can help you to keep a check on your cattle while they graze on pastures. This eliminates the need for human labor on trucks and horsebacks.

Lost cattle can be found through drones’ thermal sensor technology. It can also be used for the detection of sick and injured animals. Also, it can help in calculating the number of animals. This proves that drones are better than herding dogs.

Moreover, new technologies are getting developed by manufacturers that will enable drone operators to monitor animals individually. An RFID reader, that uses a unique tag number, to alert the operator if an animal is missing. Some tags are also able to monitor behavior parameters and temperature to identify health issues in animals.

Drones for Agriculture – Market Size, Market Drivers & Opportunities

The growth of the market of drones for agriculture is expected from 1.2 billion USD (2019) to 4.8 billion USD by 2024 at 31.4 percent CAGR. Due to the growing population of the world, growing pressure on food supply globally and an increase in funding for the development of future drones for agriculture are the key factors that are driving the growth of the agricultural drone market.

Drones and the Future of Crop Production

According to Global Market Insights, the agricultural drone market size will surpass $1 billion and 200,000 units of drones will be shipped by the year 2024.

It also claims that there will be many technological advancements in the field of farming and it will lead to increasing demand for drones. Lack of labor and skilled resources will also become the reason of drone usage in farming.

The Drone Advantage for Cattle Care, Production, and Management

The benefits of using drones for agriculture in cattle management and farming are uncountable. There are many benefits that are monetary including a healthy and safe herd that contributes to maximized yields and improved productivity.

It also has cost-cutting benefits in regard to the equipment and hired help to monitor the animals. The drone offers short term expense, license and tech, and various economic benefits that are long term. Drones for livestock management also offer benefits for animal welfare such as enabling the farmer to keep an eye on the herd to make sure all animals are safe and none of them is missing, injured or sick. It also helps to get a better view of cows that are pregnant and predators.

Experienced farmers might not get used to drones quickly. They rely on their experience more rather than having the support of technology. They believe their cattle management is better and so they might be reluctant to adopt drone in their farm practices. But with plenty of benefits, sooner or later, farmers will make use of agricultural drones to maximize their productivity and yields while saving a lot of money and time.

Benefits of Drones in Agriculture

There are many benefits of drones in agriculture. Drones are enabling farmers to not only monitor their crops but also livestock and overall farm operations.

Benefits of Drones for Crop Management

  • Fighting Crop Diseases.
  • Estimating Condition of the Soil.
  • Planting Crops.
  • Agriculture Spraying.
  • Crop Surveillance.

Benefits of Drones for Cattle Management

  • Keeping track of animals’ location.
  • Locating cows that are pregnant or giving birth.
  • Identifying any potential risks to the herd.
  • To spot Threats from animal predators.
  • Monitoring the health conditions of animals.
  • Manual as well as automated cattle counting using programmable drones


How do agriculture drones work?

Drones in agriculture are used for land mapping, monitoring of crops and livestock. They are enabling farmers to run quick security checks in order to ensure their animals are safe and not lost, injured, or sick.

How are drones used in agriculture?

  • Scouting crops and land.
  • Spot treating the plants and checking for weeds.
  • Monitoring the health of crops.
  • Livestock management and monitoring for any issues of health and much more.

About Folio3 AgTech Practice

Folio3 is a Silicon Valley based Digital Transformation partner for entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies with a special focus on digitization of Agriculture, Production and Companion Animal industry. Having worked with some of the world’s leading animal health companies, cattle associations, cow-calf operators, cattle feeders, beef processors and beef marketing companies, we have the design and development expertise required to help you digitize your manual procedures and practices, whether you’re a farm or a ranch owner, veterinarian, feedlot manager, nutritionist, or processing plant owner, we have got you covered.

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