Innovation matters to us here at Nufarm.
This month, we are investigating how drones are changing the way we farm.
The human population continues to increase exponentially; it is estimated the human population will consume more food in the next 50 years than in the last 10,000 years combined. With the growing amount of mouths to feed, it appears the future of farming depends strongly on adapting to new technology.
Digital agriculture and drones are the new frontier in farming, both here in Australia and overseas.
For most Australian farmers, basic tasks such as inspecting crops or moving livestock can take valuable hours out of the day. These farming tasks can now be done by drone, which is saving time and revolutionising the way we farm.
So what can they do?
- Thermal imaging and NDVI (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index) technology – For identifying crop health, vigor and stress.
- 3D soil mapping.
- Digital elevation models – provides data and tools for building drainage.
- Seed planting.
- Checking troughs.
- Checking and mustering livestock.
- Monitoring irrigation.
- Spot spraying.
- And much more…
The real power, is in the precision data technology that enables agronomists and farmers to track and understand crop health. Drones give the ability to interpret where there are diseased crops, unhealthy areas in the paddock or where weed outbreaks are happening – while having this information relayed back in real time. It’s empowering smart and timely decisions when it comes to crop management.
Drones are helping to improve the quality and size of yield through precise data interpretation.
Last year, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) allowed farmers to fly remotely-piloted drones weighing up to 25kg over their property without an operating certificate. With this new law in place, we can’t wait to witness the normalisation and expansion of drone use on Australian farms.
If you have a drone, we recommend downloading the free app, “Can I fly there?” from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to check where you can and can’t fly. Remember that drones are powerful tools, not toys and you should always be trained before using them. Safety should always be number one on the farm!
What are your thoughts on drones and digital farming in the agriculture world? Share this blog on Facebook or Twitter, tag @NufarmAustralia and let us know how you use drones on your farm!
SOURCE: Department of Environment, Australia State of the Environment overview, 2016.