Drones role in Precision Agriculture
Precision agriculture is a method in which farmers manage crops to ensure efficiency of inputs such as water and fertilizer, and to enhance productivity, quality, and yield. The term also involves minimizing pests, unwanted flooding, and disease. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) allow farmers to monitor crop and livestock conditions consistently by air to find problems that would not be visible in ground-level spot checks. An apt example, a farmer can inspect whether his crop is not being properly irrigated through time-lapse.
New agricultural drone models map/survey the crops. These UAVs are equipped with flight planning software that allows the user to draw around the area he or she needs to cover. As the UAV flies, it automatically takes pictures using built-in camera and (Global Positioning System) GPS to understand where to take a shot from.
The drones are capable of spraying crops with more precision than a traditional tractor, which reduces costs, and potential pesticide exposure to workers who might have otherwise sprayed the crops. In 2015, the Yamaha RMAX became the first drone weighing more than 55 pounds to be approved in the U.S. The RMAX unmanned helicopter weighs about 141 pounds empty and is capable of carrying heavy loads of fertilizers and pesticides that weigh up to 61 pounds.