Unmanned aerial vehicles continue to be somewhat of an enigma in agriculture. Recent years have seen interest in the technology grow, but determining whether ag drones are tools or toys is still a topic of some debate.
Looking at preliminary results of our 2017 Strip-Till Operational Practices Benchmark study, 22% of respondents utilize a UAV in their strip-till operation.
But the foundation of realizing the potential of UAVs in any cropping system is research. For the last several years, John Nowatzki, agricultural machine systems specialist at North Dakota State University, has tested and evaluated the application of different UAV systems to assess the real return on investment for farmers.
Thermal imagery sensing, crop scouting and stand counts are all noted benefits ag drone systems can offer, but knowing how to achieve those results requires knowledge.
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