Past the Hype: Is the Farm Drone Living up to Expectations?

Past the Hype: Is the Farm Drone Living up to Expectations?

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  pciSam 1 year, 5 months ago.

  • Author
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  • #243

    contributors
    Participant

    Are we all still “drone drunk” or has the farm drone “expectation hangover” begun?

    Read the article and then come join the discussion!

  • #393

    markus
    Participant

    It is clear that there is still a lot of excitement … and that tends to lead to hype. I cannot count on two hands the number of things I was told would be happening in 2015, but those projects still aren’t complete for the spring of 2016. But there will be a point where those new capabilities become a reality. It’s just a matter of time.

    The big breaking point will be when the sensor technology is refined to the point where a UAV flight will not only tell you where there is an issue, but also what those issue(s) are. Until then, by being involved in building this industry and integrating unmanned flight with remote sensing technology, we will together keep driving progress.

  • #406

    dcutter
    Participant

    So far i would say the job market in ag is hype . I try to read every article and listen to every podcast i can on ag and uav . I haven’t seen any credible article that make you think that a farmer would pay for the usage of uav . am i wrong ? have not seen any article telling how many flight a day or how many farms i could fly over in a day or week to make a living at it .

    • #415

      Beau
      Keymaster

      @dcutter – I would argue that many UAV-based business aren’t actively seekeing staff (yet!) because their customers are still trying to put a plan together in a way that makes fiscal sense. Compound that with commodity prices now, and someone is really going to have to spell out ROI before that spend feels like a safe bet. We’re starting to see interest in fly for service (FFS) in our area; now if the prices on grain and oil would just correct themselves… 🙂

  • #410

    svscharlie
    Participant

    I agree whole heartedly with Markus. From my own experiences talking with AG professionals, there is a genuine reluctance to embrace this new technology, by the older generation. The new generation who are learning sustainable agriculture and have been raised in the computer age are very well informed on the subject of sUAS and remote sensing. It is up to us to continue the educational process and demonstrate the capabilities of our systems and the value of remote sensing.

  • #434

    dcutter
    Participant

    I agree Beau . What does a person do in the mean time ? if he is seeking to do this for a living.

    • #436

      Beau
      Keymaster

      @dcutter Keep learning. Expand that skill set! It’s all crystal ball gazing at this point, but my gut tells me the jobs in the future will be closer to the data than the aircraft. Knowing the data you want to collect will only make you a better operator when its time to fly!

  • #444

    doc49
    Participant

    We are slowly launching our 3rd year into this air borne scaning “hype”.  We spent the 1st year (August thru October) just learning what was going on. The wing was new, the whole process was new. (we had never touched an rc befor Aug 2014)  NIR was a wierd image and learning to stich and render the NDVI report was even stranger.  Year 2 was all about go see and do.. just collect info.. We scaned winter wheat, field after field and came back 2 weeks later and scanned the same fields agin and agin in 2 more weeks (6 weeks of data on 1300 acrs).  Then some corn,  then beans,  then milo and alfalfa.. Getting the growers involved with the printed NDVI “maps” we did for them, and ground truth was like pulling teeth. From 12 growers, we are still working with 3.  The 3 finalist use this info, so far, and are pleased with what has been a real learning experience.  We are still a couple years from any major grower involment.  Equipment upgrades, ease of  integration and are still way behind in our area. Last year we scanned over 30,000 acres, total time was @9.5 hrs per 1000 acrs, > field scans, image work, ground truth, and learning to setup an RX in “greenstar”.  We flew an average 1200 acrs a day > 5 flights (9AM > 5PM).. and @ 6 hrs after that working the days images. What we do know it that its not hype.  We can show that our investment (wing/software/computers/repairs) was covered in sprayer RX and chemical saveings alone. We are not sure if there was anyway to pay for our time however.

    • #445

      Beau
      Keymaster

      Thirty thousand acres flown is a serious stockpile of data! Based on those numbers,  I have a suspicion that the growers that stick with it will be that much further ahead of the curve.  As for the man hours you have into it – Processes always get faster with practice, right? 🙂 Good stuff @doc49!

  • #472

    pciSam
    Participant

    @doc49 where are you from? What part of the country are you flying in?

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