19 Dec 3 Great Ways to Use Your Farm Drone During the Off-Season
You may have finished up your harvest, or perhaps getting a jump start on planning for next growing season, but think twice before putting away your farm drone for the winter. Just because you’re not actively working in the field does not mean your quad-copter shouldn’t play an active role in your off-season operations.
Here are some great ways you can use your farm drone to augment and accelerate your post-season processes — leaving you with more time to enjoy the off-season and getting you off to a great start for the spring plant.
1. In the Field
Keep weeds and invasive plants at bay. Once crops are harvested, weeds don’t have any competition for fertile soil and nutrients. Additionally, crop-free fields leave the soil susceptible to erosion. With a farm drone, you are able to quickly assess your harvested fields and either take action to stop unwanted weed growth, or have peace of mind knowing that your fields are ready for the next growing season.
While plants are harvested at the end of a season, farmers who raise livestock do not have a reprieve. All year around, they need to maintain — and account for — the lives of hundreds or thousands of animals. This is a challenge in the summer months, but when inclement weather hits, keeping track of livestock becomes exponentially more difficult.
This is where a drone makes everything easier for farmers in winter months. If an animal is missing, rather than getting in a vehicle and driving through fields looking for a lost cow, a farmer can simply fly a drone over the property to locate the lost animal in a matter of minutes. This is incredibly efficient. Likewise, if there is concern about livestock getting out of a field due to a broken fence, just fly a drone along the fence line and quickly see if a repair is needed.
Making sure livestock are fed and watered in the winter also becomes easier with a drone. While a drone can’t physically drop off food and water for your animals (yet!) they certainly allow you to determine if your livestock have enough of each. A quad-copter can also help you determine if your livestock’s water source is frozen.
3. Energy Conservation
Heat loss from a drafty building is easily identified using a thermal sensor mounted to a drone. Depending on the extent of the heat loss, identifying and repairing the issue can save you a significant amount of money over the course of the winter.
There are dozens of other winter farming activities apt for drone use, including measuring field acreage, determining how many of acres of crops remain, measuring wetlands, and identifying dormant vegetation to prepare for the next growing season. With all of these uses, it’s easy to see how you can use your drone to maximize efficiencies all year-round.
Written by Kris Poulson, Vice President of Agriculture