Drones on the Farm: How Can We Improve ROI?

Jeremiah Karpowicz - Commercial UAV News

Type: Article
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

I think I may have fallen head over heels for Dr. "Ray". His answers in this interview show a genuine and practical desire to get things right for the farmer on the ground - "If you want to develop things for the farm, you’ve got to step foot on the farm."

In this article, Jeremiah Karpwicx speaks to Dr. Antonio Asebedo, assistant professor of precision agriculture at Kansas State University. His job is to help quantify farmer knowledge and implement it into algorithms to drive optical sensors, predominately for use in cereal crops.

He stated that:

When we’re designing these management tools to help farmers, we need to consider what information they need and how they’re willing to utilize that tool. If we just consider these technologies from a developer perspective, then often they don’t get adopted.

A summary of this interview is below:

Q: What kind of challenges with adoption have you come across?

A: The roadblock is that just because you can get some yield data doesn’t mean that you can innately understand what’s happening behind the scenes with the environment interaction. There’s also not a streamlined algorithm to help them process out that yield monitor data to tell them what it actually means and how they should consider adjusting their management plan based on what the yield monitor data is telling them.

Q: Are those roadblocks related to the information that tools like yield monitors are providing, or around how they’re providing it?

A: We need to give farmers recommendation options to consider rather than data they need to sort out. They’re not going to waste the time to try and utilize a tool that just provides data, because they’ve already got too many things going on at the farm. They don’t have the time to learn how to utilize these tools. If the tools are not intuitive to give them direct answers so they can make a direct management decision right then and there, then whatever the tool is has a tendency to fall to the wayside.

Preprocessing data for the farmer so it gives them specific options or answers is the key.

Q: What does that tell you about how drone technology can and should be positioned in the precision agriculture space?

We need to learn from history. We need to look at what technologies have come down the pipeline and study their success rate around adoption. If it was a poor adoption rate, despite it having a lot of potential, why did it not get adopted?

We need to develop drone technology to be within the design parameters of what a farmer is willing to do. It comes down to the same old thing: is the system easy to use and does it give the farmers a direct answer they need?

Q: We talked a lot about the barriers that exist for farmers and developers around seeing drone technology actually adopted, so what are some of the things people on both sides of that conversation can do to break down those barriers?

A: The best thing to do is communicate. Developers really need to open up lines of communication with the farmers. They need to be working with farmers directly. The thing is, being able to do that means you have to deal with the cultural barrier.

Farmers typically want to meet you in person. They don’t want to just get a phone call or email. They usually don’t like that because they want to know who you are and what you’re about. Basically, they want to gain that trust. It’s incredibly important in the ag community.

Read more by clicking on the link below. I recommend you do!

2017 - United States - Jeremiah Karpowicz - Commercial UAV News
Read ArticleSave For Later

Related Resources