×
×
homepage logo

Sky scouting

By Staff | Mar 25, 2016

DOUG MOORE, an instrument-certified private pilot, shows a fixed-wing drone during a workshop held March 15 at the Webster County Fairgrounds, in Fort Dodge.

FORT DODGE – A small group of professionals and farmers attended a March 15 workshop designed to explore the many uses of drones in agriculture at the Webster County Fairgrounds.

Dr. Kapil Arora, a field agricultural engineer for Iowa State University Extension, and Doug Moore, an instrument-rated private pilot, spoke to the group on the different types of drones available and uses.

Arora said the most common drones being used for agricultural uses are multi-rotor drones and fixed-wing devices.

According to Arora, the multi-rotor drones allow the user to hover the machine in one spot and offer stability. Take-offs and landings are done vertically.

Fixed-wing copters, Arora said, have the ability to fly by itself without the use of a remote control and feature simple architecture so there are less moving parts, making them easier to maintain.

A MULTI-ROTOR DRONE is about to be flown during a March 15 workshop at the Webster County Fairgrounds, in Fort Dodge. Multi-rotor drones have the ability to hover in one spot and take off and land vertically.

Drones, Arora said will feature different cameras ranging from color, thermal and near-infrared models, which he said are continuing to improve.

“They are all a work in progress,” said Arora. “Technology is progressing at a very fast pace.”

Arora said there are several uses for drones in agriculture – both for producers to use them on their own and for those in commercial settings.

Some are now using drones to conduct emergent counts; however, a producer can face a lot of challenges when using a drone for this work.

“The challenge is to do it at the right time and you will need to fly at a low altitude of 100- to 150-feet elevation for a better response,” said Arora.

A MULTI-ROTOR DRONE is being flown during a March 15 workshop at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Fort Dodge.

Drones can also potentially be used by individual farmers for scouting, yield prediction and in-season fertilization.

For crop and livestock consultants, Arora said uses for drones could include an opportunity to increase business efficiency as well as increase confidence in their recommendations.

Drones also provide an opportunity, Arora said, for large area image collection on a routine basis. The challenge with this is assuring operators fly at the same time every day to make the best comparisons.

Drones are also starting to be used in livestock management by using thermal imagery to detect any issues in the animal’s health.

Moore also gave his expert advice on drones that are available.

He recommended models including the DJI Phantom 3 drone, which he personally has used. This particular drone is a multi-rotor drone and can be used for taking still photos and video.

This offers limited expansion, however because it cannot be retrofitted with a different camera.

“This is a great starter UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle),” said Moore.

Another drone Moore recommended is the 3DRobotics Solo drone.

This particular unit, Moore said, retails for around $1,500 and has the ability to take video, still photos, mapping (with an add-on camera) and has 30 minutes of flight time.

This is also a multi-rotor drone featuring four rotors.

For a fixed-wing drone, Moore said for $3,000 the Lehman Fixed Wing LA2000 is available.

This drone, Moore said, features a Go-Pro camera that can be used for mapping and large area coverage.

It can fly for 30 minutes, but Moore said it offers a lot of flexibility with the options of add-ons.

Once operators decide on a drone, there are licensing and other FAA regulations that as a flyer an operator needs to know.

Moore said operators must follow the 400-foot maximum flight height. The drone must always be flown in a line of sight and the drone cannot be used for any commercial use without a 333 FAA license.

Registrations of drones and information can be found at www.faa.gov/uas/registration or www.knowbeforeyoufly.com.

professionals and farmers attended a March 15 workshop designed to explore the many uses of drones in agriculture at the Webster County Fairgrounds.

Dr. Kapil Arora, a field agricultural engineer for ISU Extension, and Doug Moore, an instrument-rated private pilot, spoke to the group on the different kinds of drones available and uses.

Arora said the most common drones being used for agricultural uses are multi-rotor drones and fixed wing devices.

According to Arora, the multi-rotor drones allow the user to hover the machine in one spot and offers stability and take offs and landings are done vertically.

Fixed-wing copters, Arora said, have the ability to fly by itself, without the use of a remote control, feature simple architecture so there are less moving parts, making them easier to maintain.

Drones, Arora said will feature different cameras ranging from color, thermal and near-infrared models, which he said are continuing to improve.

“They are all a work in progress,” said Arora. “Technology is progressing at a very fast pace.”

Arora said there are several uses for drones in agriculture both for producers to use them on their own and for those in commercial settings.

A new use, Arora said is some are using drones to conduct emergent counts; however, a producer can face a lot of challenges when using a drone for this work.

“The challenge is to do it at the right time and you will need to fly at a low altitude of 100- to 150-feet elevation for a better response,” said Arora.

Other potential agricultural uses for drones Arora mentioned for individual farmers would be for scouting, yield prediction and in-season fertilization.

For crop and livestock consultants, Arora said uses for drones could include an opportunity to increase business efficiency as well as increase confidence in their recommendations.

Drones also provide an opportunity, Arora said, for large area image collection on a routine basis. The challenge with this is assuring operators fly at the same time every day to make the best comparisons.

Arora said drones are also starting to be used in livestock management by using thermal imagery to detect any issues in the animal’s health.

Doug Moore, an instrument-rated private pilot and drone owner also spoke at the workshop giving his expert advice on drones that are available.

Moore said he personally has used and suggests a few models including the DJI Phantom 3 drone. This particular drone is a multi-rotor drone and can be used for taking still photos and video.

This offers limited expansion, however because it cannot be retrofitted with a different camera.

“This is a great starter UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle),” said Moore.

Another drone, Moore recommends is the 3DRobotics Solo drone.

This particular unit, Moore said, retails for around $1,500 and has the ability to take video, still photos, mapping (with an add-on camera) and has 30-minutes of flight time.

This is also a multi-rotor drone featuring four rotors.

For a fixed-wing drone, Moore said for $3,000 the Lehman Fixed Wing LA2000 is available.

This drone, Moore said, features a Go-Pro camera that can be used for mapping and large area coverage.

This also features 30-minutes of flight time, but Moore said offers a lot of flexibility with the options of add-ons.

Once operators decide on a drone, there are licensing and other FAA regulations that as a flyer an operator needs to know

Moore said operators must follow the 400-foot maximum flight height; the drone must always be flown in a line of sight, and the drone cannot be used for any commercial use without a 333 FAA license.

Registrations of drones and information can be found at www.faa.gov/uas/registration or www.knowbeforeyoufly.com.

Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page