Agricultural Drones

Agricultural drones have advanced sesnors and imaging capabilities. TYpically, drones are either a miniature fixed-wing airplane or a quadcopter as shown above (Anderson, 2015).

Agricultural drones are used for crop management. Global Positioning Systems GPS and using data to measure how crops are growing is nothing new to the farming industry. However, drones now allow farmers to see a different viewpoint of their crops, literally. In 2015 drones in the agricultural industry began to make an appearence. Now just two years later drones are more advanced and are more recognized to the public in the farming aspect. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International AUVSI economic report indicated that between 2015 and 2025 agricultural drones will provide the biggest piece of growth (Nichol, 2016).

Kunde is launching his drones to survey his crops.

Due to the drone capabilities of capturing images of the crop from the air, it can show patterns. These patterns consist of irrigation problems, soil variations such as, pH levels and pest and fungal infestations (SenseFly, 2016). The agricultural drone is also capable of providing farmers with the status of the crop such as if it is healthy or not. This technology is capable of surveying the crop every week, day or hour. An agricultural drone can help a farmer in every season. In the spring the drone can make early analyses of the soil, tillage, tile and drainage. In the summer, the drone can observe the growth, manage irrigation, observe the amount of nitrogen, and monitor timings of when a farmer needs to apply certain nutrients, minerals or fertilizer. In the fall, the drone can be used for the pre-and post-harvest. Lastly, in the winter this technology can assess the input and machinery performance that was used during the year (SenseFly, 2017).

Here are two examples of what a drone can accumilate while flying in the air.

The AUVSI economic report predicted that the legalization of commerical drones will create more than $80 billion in revenue and job creation (Nichol, 2016). The drone boosts crop intelligence and makes it more efficient for farms to run. Agricultural drones contribute to both small and large farm operations.

Kunde has his miniture fixed-wing airplane ready for takeoff to observe his crops.

Technology in agricutlure is continuously advancing. Ryan Kunde is a farmer who uses drones for his vineyard to help him grow his crops. Drones are giving farmers alternative methods to increase yields and reduce crop damage (Anderson, 2015).

This technology uses GPS and standard point-and-shoot camera controlled by the autopilot. The software plans the flight path, aiming for the most coverage and gathers images. Surprisingly, the drones are cheaper than satellite imagery and also has higher resolution. Farmers can purchase drones for less than $1,000 each (Anderson, 2015).

Although this technology is relatively new, so far there have only been a few problems. One issue that the agricultural drone face are provacy issuess. YouTube has posted videos indicating that the drone is invading other peoples privacy while it is capturing images for farmers (Nichol, 2016). Another issue that has arisen is the legal issue of using drones for comercial use for farming and agricultural purposes. The drone industry is waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration FAA to make alterlations on the technology (Nichol, 2016).


Anderson, C. (2015, February 03). How Drones Came to Your Local Farm. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from

Nichol, T. (2016, February 1). The Good and Bad of Agricultural Drones. By AGWeb. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from

SenseFly receives first Swiss approval for anytime BVLOS operations. (2017, February 09). Retrieved April 17, 2017, from

Created By
Chelsea Dola

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