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UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF DRONES IN AGRICULTURE

While still an emerging concept, the use of drones in agriculture is rapidly expanding, driven by advancements in materials, battery technology, and sensor capabilities.

These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are proving invaluable in various agricultural tasks, from pest control and crop monitoring to structural inspections and marketing endeavors such as capturing stunning aerial imagery for websites. Some drones are as light as an ounce, while others boast capacities of carrying up to 40 liters of liquid for aerial applications. Some require human piloting, while others can autonomously navigate indoors without human intervention, making them user-friendly and accessible.

 

Frans-Peter Dechering, co-founder of Corvus Drones, sheds light on the intricacies of flying drones within the confines of a greenhouse, where GPS signals are often unreliable and obstacles abound. Their innovative solution involves drones equipped with camera-based navigation systems, eliminating the need for GPS reliance. These drones can be deployed and managed remotely, offering convenience and efficiency to greenhouse operators.

 

One particularly labor-intensive task in greenhouse management is applying shading compounds to regulate light exposure. Traditionally, this involves risky manual labor on glass roofs. However, companies like AutoSpray Systems have pioneered drone technology to apply shading compounds safely and efficiently, eliminating human risk and ensuring even application.

Drones also play a crucial role in integrated pest management, offering a targeted approach to pest control while minimising environmental impact. PATS Indoor Drone Solutions, for instance, has developed drones equipped with advanced camera systems to target and eliminate pest moths mid-flight, reducing the need for broad-spectrum insecticides that harm beneficial insects.

 

Moreover, drones facilitate monitoring and management tasks in large and inaccessible areas of agricultural operations. Companies like Corvus Drones provide growth monitoring services, including germination counts and gutter alignment checks, improving efficiency and enabling early intervention in crop management.

 

In summary, drones are revolutionising agriculture by offering cost-effective, efficient, and environmentally friendly solutions to various challenges. With their potential to save labor, reduce chemical inputs, and enhance data collection, it’s clear that the buzz of drones will become a familiar sound in greenhouses worldwide.

IMAGE: Drones soaring above the greenery of a greenhouse, not just as a novelty, but as a practical tool revolutionising agricultural practices. Credit: https://www.corvusdrones.com/. Original Article: By Andy Wilcox. A flower farmer and freelance writer with a passion for soil health, small producers, forestry, and horticulture. He and his partner run Stone’s Throw Flowers, providing cut flower arrangements to retail and wholesale customers. Andy is an active member of the Farmer Veteran Coalition of Wisconsin.

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