WHY USE DRONES IN AGRICULTURE?
New generation agriculture.
Precision farming is a game changer
For centuries, farmers have walked their fields monitoring the health of their crops. It is a time-consuming process. But this is changing.
Agricultural drones are becoming a key factor in helping farmers increase agricultural production, monitor and inspect crop growth, create a richer picture of their fields, improve agricultural efficiency and maximize results.
Among the many benefits, drone data can be used to extract soil characteristics, including temperature, humidity, and elevation, which aids in more accurate soil sampling.
Drones and their sophisticated sensors can help farmers plan and troubleshoot irrigation systems, helping with the management and use of water flow; monitor the emergence and population of plants to guide replanting decisions and improve crop models; and decide on harvest plans by helping farmers to anticipate crop quality and final yield.
On-demand, high-resolution drone data is also perfect for accurately capturing and reporting events that lead to economic losses, such as crop damage and reduced health.
Drones cover areas faster, offer real-time insights, are more accurate than traditional methods, and don't bypass crops.
Simply put, drones provide vital data that helps farmers and growers monitor, plan and manage their farms more effectively, saving time and money in the process.
Up to 40 hectares
covered in a working day with a drone when the fields are close together.
Cost reduction up to 85%
when using 3D field mapping and soil analysis with drones.
1.3 billion dollars a year
could be saved by corn, soybean and wheat farmers using drones, a study says.
4.8 billion dollars
is the expected figure that will reach the agricultural drone market by 2024.
How can drones be used in agriculture?
The versatility of drones and their sophisticated sensors allows farmers to use the technology for a variety of reasons. These include:
- Crop monitoring : Drones monitor crops accurately and economically compared to traditional methods and offer key information on crop development, as well as highlight inefficient and ineffective practices.
- Soil and field analysis : Drones can produce 3D maps, quickly and economically, which help farmers make important decisions about planting pattern design and nitrogen level management, for example.
- Health Assessment : Drones can acquire multispectral data to help farmers gather key information on crop health. Such timely intervention is essential to remedy any problems.
- Irrigation : Drones equipped with monitoring equipment can identify areas of a field subject to water stress (lack of water). Thermal sensors provide crucial information, enabling targeted diagnosis of areas receiving too much or too little water.
- Aerial Planting : Drones can fly over a potential planting area to monitor the best areas for growth. They can then release biodegradable pods, full of seeds and nutrients, into the soil.
- Herd Management : Farmers are employing drones to monitor livestock. In some cases, drones with speakers, such as the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise series, are used for the movement of animals, reproducing the barking of a pre-recorded dog. Breeders say this method puts less stress on the herd.
- Crop spraying : Crops can quickly cover large areas, applying liquids with great precision.
- Insurance : drones can play a key role in insurance, both in the pre- and post-accident phase. Using a drone helps with site inspection, complaint decisions, fraud prevention and risk management.
“Some of my experts have told me it's almost as if using the drone is some sort of unifying force in the relationship between them and the farmer. The farmer likes that they are here and use something so precise and cutting edge in their fields. "
Philippe Vayssac, Groupama Rhone-Alpes Auvergne
“There is a huge appetite for drones in agriculture and livestock. A drone can be transformed into a useful agricultural tool, flying over a field to provide a farmer with valuable information and a range of information and make walking fields a thing of the past. "
Jack Wrangham, Drone AG
DRONES FOR SPRAYING CROPS
Automated, targeted and precise.
A safe and efficient solution
Agricultural drone spraying is becoming an increasingly popular application, helping to maintain crop health and yield.
Drones are used to spray diseases, weeds and pest control, as well as spread pesticides and fertilizers.
Using drones for this application makes sense, offering a fully automated, focused and precise solution and replacing the laborious, time-consuming and potentially harmful use of backpack sprayers and other equipment.
This method is particularly useful in areas where the terrain is hilly, steep or difficult to access.
Using a drone is also a cheaper option than using dusters to spray fields that are too large for manual work.
Crop spraying drones are particularly popular in China, where government subsidies promote the use of agricultural drones. Leading drone manufacturer DJI has responded to this request by designing Agras' spray drones. There are currently more than 40,000 active Agras on the market.
Spray drones are not currently legal in the UK, but trials are underway to try and change this. Many of these tests are based on growing ferns on inaccessible slopes in mountainous areas important for sheep production. The goal is to build a portfolio of evidence to highlight the positive uses of drones for crop spraying and persuade decision makers to allow drone spraying.
“We sprayed the vines in Switzerland using DJI Agras and our customer is satisfied with the results of the drone spraying. Comparing it to tractor spraying, he says the benefits of using the drone are no personal contact with pesticides, no phytotoxicity and in steep terrain areas the drone has much higher efficiency. "
Ueli Sager, Remote Vision
“Using drones to spray pesticides is more efficient than using tractors and is a reliable solution for plant protection. First, tractors damage the cotton while passing, while drones prevent the cotton from being crushed. At first, the farmers had doubts about the drones, but then they saw the efficiency of the aircraft. "
Yuhuan Li, Agricultural Drone Pilot
DJI Agras crop spraying drones
High-tech agricultural spraying drones, the DJI Agras series is designed to increase the efficiency and manageability of plant protection and fertilization.
For example, the T30 drone has a 30 liter operating tank, has 16 sprayers and has a spray width of 9m. The drone is capable of covering 16 hectares per hour. It also has a 30kg spreading tank, with a spreading width of 7m, and is capable of delivering 1 ton of fertilizer per hour.
Meanwhile, the Agras T16 is equipped with a 16-liter spray tank and is capable of spraying 24.7 acres (10 hectares) per hour. This is much faster than manual spraying methods.
The Agras series can be implemented for a fully automated, focused and precise spraying solution, allowing modern farms to save labor while maximizing coverage and yields.
For greater efficiency, the Agras series can be used for swarming. Up to five Agras T16 drones can be controlled by a single T16 remote control, while one Agras MG-1P controller can control up to five MG-1P aircraft simultaneously, doubling the efficiency of single pilot operations.
Crop spraying drones v Manual methods
Using drones for crop spraying is a much more efficient and cost-effective process than manual methods.
This table provides a breakdown of the real-world benefits of deploying a DJI Agras drone over traditional methods, in terms of efficiency, safety and control. This example is based on the DJI Agras T16 but provides a snapshot of the overall benefits when deploying any Agras series drone.
DJI AGRAS T16
3-4 hectares per day
60 hectares per day
Standardization of work
|Coordinated with the positioning system to perform route planning and improve work efficiency.|
Support aviation special chemicals, high utilization rate, can save more than 20% pesticide.
It is easy to lose or re-spray and with low pesticide penetration.
Due to the low efficiency of the work, it is difficult to carry out a protection of large areas in a short period of time, which is not suitable for unified control.
The pesticide is sprayed evenly and has good penetration due to the downward wind flow from the aircraft.
It can perform large area operations in a short period of time.
|Safety||Workers are very close to pesticides, which pose a serious health risk.||
The worker is separated from the pesticide and does not need to access hard-to-reach areas.
CROPS INSPECTION DRONES
Save money and identify problems through aerial data.
Information that cannot be seen with the naked eye
Crop inspection is a vital part of agriculture and a drone can be used to acquire quick, accurate and meaningful information.
Drones can carry a combination of zoom, thermal, multispectral, NDVI and visual cameras to draw precise data that cannot be seen with the naked eye or is difficult to collect from ground level.
This provides vital, real-time information on crop growth, differences between healthy and distressed plants, and weed control, thus enabling agriculture professionals to identify problems quickly, precisely and accurately and better target their field research.
Drones can be used to perform these surveys as often as the job requires. This accurate and repeatable multi-year drone data allows for better planning and monitoring of improvements, such as ditches and evolving fertilizer applications.
As an added benefit, this meaningful data can be processed instantly and can be quickly shared with key staff and decision makers to help maximize agricultural results.
“Efficient weed control in an agricultural operation is key. Knowing when and where to apply the herbicide can provide significant savings, not only in preventing crop damage, but also in minimizing the amount of product that is purchased and applied. Remote sensing technology can help growers evaluate the effectiveness of treatments, identify problem areas and implement necessary corrective actions ”.
MicaSense and Dynamic Wings
The best drones for crop inspection
As the world's leading drone manufacturer, DJI has a number of solutions to help farmers gather vital information on crop health and vegetation management.
The Phantom 4 Multispectral is a precision agriculture dedicated drone, which allows agriculture professionals to acquire plant-level data.
The drone is equipped with an integrated imaging system that includes 1 RGB camera and a multispectral camera with five sensors covering the blue, green, red, red and near infrared bands.
Users can switch between NDVI images and live RGB feeds to highlight areas of attention and enable targeted treatment decisions.
The Phantom 4 Multispectral benefits from RTK accuracy, while the DJI TimeSync system allows you to obtain accurate positioning data on the images captured by the cameras.
This allows farmers to make timely and informed decisions about crop treatment and health, reducing costs, saving on resources and helping to maximize yields.
The DJI Matrice M300 RTK is another reliable option for farmers. While not strictly an agricultural drone, the M300 RTK can be integrated with several payloads to capture key agricultural information, including the H20T camera which boasts thermal and zoom capabilities. Thermography has a wide range of applications in agriculture, such as irrigation scheduling, plant disease detection and fruit yield estimation, while a zoom camera can be used to focus on specific areas.
The DJI Matrice 300 RTK can also be integrated with third-party payloads, allowing farmers to pair the drone with dedicated and specialized NDVI and multispectral sensors.
Meanwhile, the DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise series offers a lightweight, foldable and portable option for farmers. The standard Mavic 2 Enterprise comes with a dynamic zoom camera, while the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual comes with thermal capabilities. Both drones can carry modular accessories, such as a speaker, spotlight, and beacon, to add versatility to farming missions.