This week on Table Talk, we had the opportunity to speak to Mark Sheehan from My Drone Authority about the application of drone technology on Australian farms. Mark founded My Drone Authority to share his knowledge and help people get the most out of this amazing hobby and profession.
Mark explained to Farm Table:
The world of farming is an area that has been changing a lot in recent years. Drone technology is the most recent addition having a significant impact.
Drones have opened up new possibilities for professionals to expand and grow their businesses. In the area of agriculture, drones have paved the way for how Australian farmers now work throughout the season.
There is no debate about the viability of drone technology to the markets of the world. The challenge that many professionals face is how to incorporate the new technology into their current field of study.
We asked Mark how Australian farmers can use drones on their properties. Mark shared with us 10 ways Australian farmers can use drones to improve their operation:
1. Enhancing Smart Farming
There is an enormous need for farmers to balance the benefits of technology with the cost to implement new and better ways to farm.
Drone use allows the farmer to balance the two. Drones are highly affordable and are able to carry the remote sensing technology needed to enact smart farming.
2. Thermal Imaging
Farmers are also able to use drones for thermal imaging. This allows a farmer to get an overall picture of their crops. It shows them how one section is fairing over another area. The farmer can then adjust attention to the areas that need it the most.
Cameras can also be mounted on the drone to allow farmers to get an overall picture of the effect that pestilence is having on their crops.
They can then pinpoint with GPS accuracy the area of the crop that will need certain treatments. Farmers will be able to save money using this method by limiting the amount of spray needed to treat their crops.
4. Spraying Pesticides
Drones can also be used to spray pesticides on the affected crops.
Each drone can be equipped with special sprayers that help pinpoint and distribute the spray to the infected area of the crop. The area is digitally mapped before spraying takes place so the farmer knows exactly where to place the drone for maximum spray benefits.
Drones can save a lot of money in this area. Helicopters and planes require runways and large areas to take off and land. A drone only needs a small area. A drone fitted with the right equipment can spray a more direct area than a plane or helicopter could.
5. Laser Location
A drone can also keep the spraying of pesticides to a minimum. There is not a lot of room for error when it comes to dusting crops. Drones can be outfitted with laser location technology that will assist the farmer in locating the exact area needed to be treated.
6. Plant Seeds
In some areas, drones are used to help plant crops. This cuts down on labor and the amount of time needed to plant seeds into the soil.
The drone is equipped with special devices that air propel the seed back into the ground. The seeds are germinated before they are planted so ideally a one pass option in preferred.
7. Map Out Pre-Planting Patterns
Drones can be used to map out pre-planting patterns to help farmers maximize the area used for planting crops.
Each farmer can strategize and implement the best planting pattern for each crop. This minimizes the amount of time it takes to map out the pattern on foot.
8. Evaluate Soil Health
Drones are also being used by scientists and farmers to evaluate soil health. They can be outfitted with special cameras designed to detected moisture and important gases in the soil that are necessary for healthy planting.
Agricultural drones are also being deployed to aid in the safety of the farmer. Farmers will often walk around their fields to perform an overall evaluation. In some overgrown areas, farmers are unaware of dangers that could be lurking in the brush. A drone is a great option to help get an aerial view of the surrounding area.
Drones are also being used for safety during harvest time. A drone can provide an aerial shot of where people are and what they are doing during the harvest. Should a danger arise, proper action can be communicated to everyone to avoid it.
There is no doubt that drones are changing the way farming is done in Australia. As the technology grows and becomes more widely accepted, the method of drone farming will get better and more effective as time moves on.
The question is, which farmers are going to capitalize on this technology and gain the most benefit from it?
Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us Mark about the use of drones in farming, particularly for cropping operations. We look forward to discussing ways they can be utilised in livestock operations and other enterprises in the future.
About The Author
Mark Sheehan started My Drone Authority
– a blog that covers drone industry news, commentary,
and in-depth buying guides.