Drone Use for Sustainable Precision Agriculture

1) Sustainability Problem: Health

As the world population increases, the planet has experienced increasing demands in food production and consumption. Additionally, climate change is leading to agriculture loss. These phenomena put pressure on farmers and agronomists to use and manage their resources more effectively and efficiently in order to secure the health and well-being of the people the industry serves.

2) Article Title: “The Role of Drone Technology in Sustainable Agriculture”; Website Name: PrecisionAg TecHub; Article Link: https://www.precisionag.com/in-field-technologies/drones-uavs/the-role-of-drone-technology-in-sustainable-agriculture/

  • Precision agriculture practices including fine-scale monitoring and mapping of yield and crop parameter data help farmers exercise more intense and efficient cultivation methods. They can make decisions based on economic and environmental factors to boost yields and achieve cost and environmental savings.
  • Using drones with robust data analytics can be a powerful method of supporting precision agriculture practices. Drones can be used in a variety of functions:
    • Crop monitoring to plan and make improvements such as the use of ditches and evolving fertilizer applications
    • Accurately tracing products from farm to fork using GPS locations throughout the entire journey
    • Carefully monitoring large areas of farmland, considering factors such as slope and elevation, to identify suitable seeding prescriptions
    • Assessing crop fertility with high-resolution drone data to more accurately apply fertilizer, reduce wastage, and plan irrigation systems

3) Organizational Stakeholders

Stakeholders for drone technology in precision agriculture could include the following:

  • Local community members that may be concerned about privacy, especially if drones are collecting data very high level data (controlled airspace, around airports, individuals’ privacy)
  • Famers
  • Drone manufacturers
  • Software providers
  • Agricultural service providers
  • Agronomists

4) Implementation Process

Before implementing drone technology for precision agriculture purposes, agricultural professionals need to decide whether to train an internal team to fly the drones or to hire a third-party. There are cost considerations associated with this decision.

The parties using the drone need to assess regulations in the area before using the drones. Regulations vary by region and are constantly changing, so drone users need to make sure they comply with regulations involving controlled airspaces around airports or the privacy of individuals.

A technology evaluation must be completed to determine which type of drone with which software is best suited for the land in question. Since drones have so many uses and can collect so many different types of data, some types may be better suited for certain situations.


One thought on “Drone Use for Sustainable Precision Agriculture

  1. This is a really cool subject and innovation. I do believe the agriculture industry is ripe for disruption, and while vertical farming is an area that seems to be getting more attention, this is a really exciting innovation for a way to advance traditional farms technologically at scale – whereas many tech improvements are too expensive for major farms. What excites me most about this drone technology isn’t the drones themselves, but the analytics that can come from the footage they capture. In particular, how can we use AI to better sift through and analyze the data, and then also make recommendations? I’ve also read about drones being used to plant trees in mass; while that’s a very different use case, I feel like there are other ways to use drones in agriculture that could drive their ability to not just diagnose issues, but also help fix them.


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