Can Drones Help Farmers?

Precision agriculture provides a wide range of data, that gives an accurate representation of what is going on within a crop field (Canadian Grants Business Centre, 2016). This is a very fascinating topic that many people in Canada have not fully explored yet. Dronemates has been investigating the benefits of using drone technology in agriculture and looking for ways in which we can help local farmers. Much of the research and development in this field (no pun intended) is happening in California.

Farmers can use drones equipped with multispectral cameras able to detect soil moisture, indicating drier areas within certain regions of the land as well as heat fluctuations in crops. These technologies help provide location information for issues in irrigation such as leaks, as well as areas where pests may be present (Petrovic et al., 2016). One large farm in California uses drone precision technology and has indicated that the implemented technology has saved enough water to sustain more than 550 families of four for a year. Currently, over 2,100 companies have federal permission to fly drones within America and the use of drone technology to help adapt to drought is becoming much more common (Chicago Tribune, 2016).

In Ontario, the number of registered, licensed drone businesses is even lower. We want to see the industry grow and flourish, which is why we are so interested in these adaptation strategies. Dronemates is fully licensed and able to fly anywhere in Ontario, where we can hopefully make a difference for farms closer to home.

Southern Ontario is expected to experience an increase in temperature and a decrease in precipitation throughout its summer crop season. This will lead to an increase in duration, frequency and severity of droughts in Southern Ontario, and therefore have a negative impact on crop production for farmers within this region (Yusa et al. 2015).

Adaptation strategies such as drones are available to help stakeholders within the agricultural sector cope with impacts of drought to ensure crop production does not experience severe impacts.

Using remote sensing technology such as drones is a farm management practice used to collect observations, measurements, and responses of crops to droughts, floods and extreme weathering. Drones provide more accurate information and data regarding farming techniques for planting, growing, and maintaining crops. Drones are increasingly being used as part of precision agriculture and are recommended as an ideal adaptation strategy (Schmaltz, 2017). 

Dronemates is excited to play a role in such an innovative and cutting-edge adaption strategy. We are very passionate about this topic and know that the world needs this technology to prevent crop production from being negatively affected. It is also important that we play a role in our everyday lives to mitigate damages we cause to the environment and lessen our impact on climate change the best we can.

References

Petrovic, I., Marjanovic, M., Cosic, M., Savic, S., & Cvijanovic, G. (2016). Infra-red thermography for detecting drought in agricultural crops and scheduling irrigation. Ekonomika poljoprivrede, 63(2), 461-469.

Canadian Grant Business Centre. (2016). Drones for Farming. Retrieved from http://farmgrants.ca/tag/farm-drone/

Schmaltz, R. (2017). What is Precision Agriculture. Retrieved from https://agfundernews.com/what-is-precision-agriculture.html

Yusa A, Berry P, J.cheng J, et al (2015) Climate Change, Drought and Human Health in Canada. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 12:8359–8412.

Tribune News Services. (2016, August 29). In drought, drones help California farmers save every drop. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-california-drought-drones-20160829-story.html

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