By Farm Progress staff
Technology is going to play heavily into how you manage your crops in the future. Few people would dispute that statement. The battle seems to be over how it will be done. Will you be using satellite images, aerial images from airplanes with normal or NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) information, aerial thermal imaging? Or will you or your own consultant do your own crop scouting for decision-making by flying drones over your fields at key times during the growing season?
The battle seemed to be in high gear when Farm Progress editors searched for new products at farm shows. They discovered a new scouting service whose staff insists it can do the best job of helping you manage fields with regular aerial flights, putting the information received into software and coming out with results that can help you fine-tune management. Another service says thermal imaging is the answer, and is offering a service to fly fields and deliver thermal images with interpretations, so you know where to look first for crop problems.
Several companies continue to offer drones, and continue to bring out new models. Now that you or your consultant can obtain a Federal Aviation Administration license and legally fly your fields for decision-making purposes, the number of advancements in drones for ag use seems to be increasing. A number of those new products were on display at the shows.
Several companies are starting with DJI products, primarily multi-wing rotor machines, and adapting various types of cameras to various models, depending on the information you want — or they think you will want in the future. The price tag for the basic machines is typically much lower than the price for the cameras and services needed to deliver infrared images of your field or similar images in great detail.
Learn more about each of these products by following up with the contact information listed for the product. In some cases, companies that offer drones are looking for distributors to help move their products across the country. Make those inquiries through the same contact information provided.