|Chris Ambrose is an attorney and the owner of Harvest Legal in Emporia, Kansas. His practice consists primarily of agriculture, business, estate planning, and elder law planning. In addition, Chris works to stay on the bleeding edge of developments and advances in the legal services industry, especially when they pertain to small legal practices.|
Agribusiness Drone Technology
Technology is becoming just as ubiquitous in agriculture as it is in almost any other industry. It is no surprise then to hear that the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, in agriculture has exploded as well, with some estimates showing that the market in the sector will increase by up to 750% between now and 2022. In this article I will examine some ways that agriculture technology will be affecting the day to day operations of agribusinesses now and into the near future.
First and foremost, the applications of UAVs into agriculture are getting ready to expand aggressively. Approximately a year ago, the FAA began approving UAVs for use in crop fertilization. While this is a limited step for now, it opens the door for their use to replace or at least limit the use of crop dusters, especially if the UAVs are used for more highly targeted applications, where which would simply not be possible for the crop-dusting planes to accomplish the same end. Elsewhere globally, more extensive utilization of industrial UAVs is already present, so it makes sense to see the use and utility in these kinds of applications expand as the FAA regulations become more settled.
A second area where agricultural UAVs will likely be aggressively expanding will be in the realm of data collection and observation. Using UAVs coupled with infrared cameras, producers can quickly manage the health of crops in terms of rainfall, fertilizer usage, and disease monitoring. There are other aerial techniques available now for that, but they are costly and not always as ideally responsive timewise.
For ranchers, drones can also provide some unique benefits as well. Drones programmed to examine fencing will someday be able to find fences that need mending in a proactive manner. Further, UAVs are especially useful in tracking movements of cattle and helping a rancher know where their livestock is at any given time. This provides a huge time savings advantage over the traditional method of visually inspecting a fence line, and having to hunt down cattle.
The future of agribusiness is one in which UAV technology will be widely used in order to save time and maximize profits. Those who adopt to the use faster will most likely find themselves in a better financial situation that those more reticent to begin to take advantage to UAV tech. From early returns the benefits of this technology will possibly be game changing for those who take advantage.
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