Drones are becoming increasingly common in the agriculture world.
Local farmers participated in an Ag Drone School in Vermilion this week.
Aside from learning how to fly them, LandView Drones president, Markus Weber, covered how using drones can apply to farming operations or various job opportunities.
These drones are capable of doing mapping topography, quantification of damage (from hail, etc.), and infrastructure inspection (like the top of grain bins or the other side of a quarter crop of canola.
“Identifying lodging is so effective from a drone,” said Weber.
Many farmers use drones for topographic modelling and assessing how they are going to aggregate or keep wetlands in place.
“Time is everything in agriculture,” said Weber.
“By spending a minute and a half, people can quickly scout, giving them a snapshot of what’s really going on. Often there isn’t time on a farm to get field scale yield map mid season to see if the products you are applying are having the effect you want them to.”
Counties also use drones for environmental monitoring, helping them get a good picture of the riparian areas and biodiversity effects. Research sites can capture tons of data that otherwise would take a lot of man hours.
Participants learned about flying and maintenance, take off and landing, and autonomous mapping (where the drone flies grid patterns). Learning in theory and practice, they were certified by the end of the course.
Kaylie Krys and Devin Lawrence enjoyed taking part in the two-day course and said it gave them a lot more confidence in flying drones.
“I came to use it as a resume builder, but I think I got a lot more out of it,” said Krys.
“I had heard of drones being used on the crop side, but something I found out was the livestock side of it. Their cow chaser package has a light, a speaker, and a beacon so you can use a drone to count cattle, find ear tags, or even try to chase one out of the bush using heat sensors.”
Lawrence too had takeaways.
“I was nervous to consider even looking at drones thinking they would be expensive technology, but they are actually reasonable to consider for a farming operation,” said Lawrence.