Story

NEW_TECH

The Ag-Drone: An eye in the sky for farmers.

ABSTRACT

Fly a sensor-equipped drone over a field, collect data, crunch numbers, give farmers high quality info they can use, and help them use it.

So I had this idea: Take a drone, put sensors aboard it, fly it over crop fields, collect data, process that data into information that a farmer can understand and help the farmer roll this information into his/her crop field management program. This information will tell the farmer whether his field contains the proper mixture of moisture, fertilizers, and chemicals and is ready for planting, or whether the field is not ready for planting and requires further treatment. When this data is collected early enough in the season, it can spell the difference between a field that only realizes limited potential and reduced profits and a field that realizes a full, optimal harvest yield. A field can change over the course of a single growing season, a crop extracts nutrients, moisture, fertilizers, and chemicals during its growth. The post-harvest soil conditions of a field may fall away from its expected parameters. Aerial data collection can discover and alert the farmer to these less than optimal conditions, such as low nitrogen levels, inconsistent germination or “bald spots”, sporadic plant density, insect infestation, often before they can be detected by the unaided eye. In a short amount of time, Palouse Ag-Drone Services can provide the farmer with the information he needs to quickly treat his field; a supplemental application of nitrogen, spot treatment of fertilizers or other chemicals, herbicides, insecticides, etc. If the field can be reconditioned early in the growing season, the farmer has a greater chance to salvage what might otherwise be a less than optimal harvest yield. Our overall objective is to reduce operating costs, increase operational efficiency and the likelihood of an optimal harvest, all while contributing to sustainable agriculture.