5 Reasons It’s Time to Invest in Drones on the Farm

Learn why drones should be part of your technology roadmap in 2018 and beyond.

Growers have always had high expectations for drones. But the early drone days left a lot to be desired from hardware and software alike. Now it’s 2018, and the era of high price tags and low usability are over. Today’s drones and software — powered by cloud computing and advanced analytics — bring real value to the farm.

Last month, we hosted a webinar featuring ag experts Chad Colby and Kyle Miller. During the session, they dug into the history of drones on the farm and shared their top reasons to consider adding drones to your precision ag program.

If you’ve been on the fence about investing in drones, this is the webinar for you. Read on for a quick recap, or watch the full webinar recording here.

DJI drones are reliable, affordable, and available at your local electronics store.

Drone Hardware is Accessible to the Average Grower

Long gone are the days of building a drone, experimenting with after-market cameras, or investing a small fortune into your bird. Today’s drone hardware is ready to go out of the box and more reliable than ever.

“In the past, I invested as much as $40,000 into camera systems,” says Chad. “But I don’t have any of that stuff today because it just wasn’t practical.”

And he should know, he’s was an early adopter starting back in 2011. Chad has seen his fair share of failed flights and Frankenstein drones return without a single image.

You can now get off the ground for less than $2,000 — which sure beats a $10–40K investment in something that might not even work. The best part? DJI drones are available at your local Best Buy.

Missed the live webinar? Don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered with a complete recording here.

Drone Software is More Reliable Than Ever

Back in the day, getting drones to talk to computers was no easy task. And it wasn’t uncommon for drone imagery to take a day or more to process, if you were able to process at all. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. We’ve made huge strides in what’s possible with DroneDeploy’s cloud-based platform and image processing capabilities. Not to mention you no longer need ground stations or PCs to communicate with your drone. You can now head out into the field armed only with a drone and tablet to collect high-res imagery in minutes with our simple, easy-to-use mobile app at your fingertips.

Seamless Image Stitching is Now the Norm

If you flew your fields late in the season over the past few years, you more than likely experienced stitching issues similar to the images below. Why? Because image processing engines at the time weren’t designed to handle late-season homogenous imagery like that of a corn or soy bean field. These images often resulted in “holes” appearing in your processed map, which isn’t very helpful if you’re trying to crop scout. We’ve since put in a lot of work to fix this, and the results are exciting. “That’s the biggest thing that has changed with this software,” said Chad on the webinar.

“I can stitch field maps every single time now, and that’s a big deal.”—Chad Colby, Colby AgTech

Late-stage crops are no longer an issue. The latest improvements to DroneDeploy’s Map Engine stitch maps seamlessly, no matter what time of the season you fly.

Real-Time Insights are Now a Reality with Live Map

Changes happen fast during the growing season. Having access to timely, accurate information in the field is key to identifying and minimizing the impact of pests, disease, and other crop issues. Where growers might wait days for airplane or satellite imagery, or spend hours uploading and processing a typical drone map, Live Map can capture a field map in minutes as the drone flies. “You can get field data from the tailgate of your pickup truck,” said Chad. “This is what I am most excited about, because it opens up entirely new possibilities.”

See what Live Map can do for you.

Missed the live webinar? Don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered with a complete recording here.

An Entire Drone Ecosystem Has Emerged

If you’re like most precision growers, you use farm management software to keep track of your fields, generate prescriptions, and analyze historical data. So how do you integrate drone data into your software workflow without sacrificing time or extra resources?

That’s where the DroneDeploy App Market comes in. Since we launched it back in 2016, more than 80 app partners have invested in integrations with DroneDeploy. This means that you can quickly import field boundaries, export crop maps, share elevation data, and more with the help of our partner apps. From industry leaders like John Deere and Climate Corporation, to AI innovators like Agremo, you’ve got an entire ecosystem to lean on.

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Alex Admin

Passion for planes, flights, aeronautical engineering and eager to share my knowledge and related areas of interest.

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