The contribution of the agricultural sector to the country’s GDP in the year 2020-21 is a whopping 19.9% that is nearly 1/5th of the total GDP. Yet, it is disheartening to see this sector facing a large number of issues on daily basis leading to the loss of not just crops but VALUABLE LIVES as well!
As responsible citizens of the nation, it’s our moral duty to find a way out of this miserable situation, opening up the doors of relief for the farming industry. And what can be better than making a shift to the highly advanced drones in order to make the agricultural processes more efficient!
Drones don't merely enhance overall performance but also encourage farmers to solve other assorted barriers and receive plenty of benefits through precision agriculture. With the market for agricultural drones improving day by day, UAVs fill the flaw of human error and inefficiency by traditional farming methods by excluding any guesswork or ambiguity and instead focusing on accurate and reliable information to carry forward the methods of farming.
External factors like weather, soil conditions, and temperature play a critical role in farming. Agriculture drones empower the farmers to have pre conceived information of the changing environments and make mindful farming choices accordingly. The data collected helps regulate crop health, treatment, scouting, irrigation, and carry out field soil analysis and crop damage assessments. The drone surveys also help boost crop yields and minimize time and expenses.
To start with, the proper survey and analysis of the territory are essential. One must have a clear idea regarding the possible growth of crops in a land before initiating the farming processes on it. Crops cannot grow on extremely dry, sandy soil or in lands prone to drought. Thus, investing in such lands will only procure loss.
The farmers start using drones to make a proper analysis of the area. This includes establishing a boundary, complete an analysis of the area, collecting the data, and finally uploading the technical GPS information into the drone's navigation system. The drone survey allows farmers to obtain information about their land's soil conditions. Precise Photogrammetry/ 3D mapping permits and Multispectral sensors allow seizing data useful for seed planting patterns, thorough field soil analysis, irrigation, and nitrogen-level management to analyze their soil conditions thoroughly. Drones with the help of their hyperspectral, thermal sensors, recognize areas that are too dry or need improvement, bringing them to the notice of the farmers.
Post analysis and after the crops been laid, the focus needs to move towards the healthy growth of the crops as well as ensure proper irrigation facilities.
It is crucial to track the health of the vegetation and spot bacterial/fungal plagues in the early stages. Agriculture drones can collect valuable data and produce multispectral images to track crop health. The drone survey also helps to improve water efficiency and disclose potential leaks in irrigation, hence preventing water loss and bringing the flaws into the knowledge of the farmer. Agricultural drones fitted along with multispectral sensors and RGB sensors also detect field areas inflicted by weeds, infections, and pests. According to this data, the exact amounts of chemicals needed to fight these infestations can be assessed which helps diminish the cost of weedicides and pesticides. Quick monitoring and discoveries of any defects can also help save large acres of crops. In circumstances of crop failure, the farmer can even document the damages by using drones for accurate insurance claims.
In the newspaper excerpts above, we saw how 30 farmers lost their lives due to the inhalation of some spurious pesticides that were to be sprayed on cotton. Through drone crop spraying, human contact with such harmful chemicals is limited, hence reducing the risk of harming human life. In addition to safety, the Agri-drones with their RGB and multispectral sensors can precisely identify and treat problematic areas much quicker than vehicles/airplanes, hence saving a large amount of time.
Drone Professionals have also stated that aerial spraying with drones is about five times faster as compared to other methods.
The efficient drones can also help the farmers keep track of their cattle and monitor their movements as well. Thermal sensor technology can help to find lost animals and detect an injury or sickness if any.
The use of drones in the agricultural industry would surely reform the traditional farming methods and will help the farmers enhance their production, manage their resources, reduce crop damage, save time as well as money. Above all, it will reduce the risk of loss of many precious lives owing to mental trauma, financial burdens, and health issues caused due to failure of crops and hazardous farming practices. Thus, the farmers and concerned authorities must take the necessary steps and initiate the shift to the usage of drones in the agricultural industry.