Drones will change the agriculture industry

Published Date : Jun 24, 2014

Amazon and UPS have gathered national attention for using drones in order to deliver packages. However, the future of drone technology is expected to arise from the front lines all the way to the farm. 

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System, or ACES, is offering the farmers the tests done on drones for their research farms. ACES, is hoping to become a resource for farmers when this technology will be available.  

Dr. John Fulton, Auburn University Associate Professor and Extension Specialist said the university is arranging low altitude flights and taking couple of pictures of crops and allowing the farm managers to have a look at it. In this manner, the decisions on how to manage crops is better made. Fulton said the data collection is made sure it is very safe in its process, and no people around are hurt during the low altitude flights. He also added that they are ensuring no rules are broken.  

Nonetheless, the Federal Aviation Administration has not approved the implementation of drones for commercial use. 

At the research farm, the ACES team uses the drone during the cropping season with low flights below 200 feet. Fulton also says that the drones have the potential to diagnose a variety of problems found at the crop yields.

Fulton added, that as a university the team is trying to diagnose all the issues and get information back to the farmers so when the time comes to lay down the FAA rules, the best management practices are put to use.