Eyes in the sky: Drone technology giving farmers an edge

The days of wading through shoulder-high rows of corn to see how the crops are doing could become a thing of the past with some of the latest technology — unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.

Dennis Bowman has been flying drones over campus farms to get images from the air, which helps identify problems along the long rows of crops.

“Technology has always changed farming,” said Bowman, a University of Illinois Extension commercial agriculture field crops educator. “For example, my grandfather farmed with mules and horses. All farmers regardless of the farm’s size are looking at technologies to give them an edge.”

Bowman told the Effingham (Ill.) Daily News 90 percent of farming hasn’t changed much over the years – and new technology is a way to try to squeeze out a little more profit.

Other forms of technology are changing the way farmers operate today, such as development of gasoline engines, commercial fertilizer, computers, hybrid seed, pesticides and plant breeding, he said.

GPS technology is another modern enhancement in agriculture. It contributes to “precision farming,” making sure just the right amount of fertilizer or chemicals is placed on the fields in just the right areas.

According to Bowman, issues across plots of land can be detected earlier with the aerial footage and can possibly be corrected.

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Source: Joplin Globe