Drones may be coming soon to a farm near you

09/11/2013 10:01:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

droneClint ThompsonA drone flies over the Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie, Ga.Drones—unmanned remotely controlled aircraft—could be coming to agriculture soon.

Growers got a glimpse of the technology at the Sunbelt Expo recently in Moultrie, Ga., according to a news release.

By having an eye in the sky, growers and consultants could become more efficient in scouting fields.

An aerial view also would help growers and consultants identify problems that weren't visible by just walking a field.

It also would provide a different perspective in tall crops, such as corn or treefruit, there it's nearly impossible to view the canopy top from the ground.

“You can’t cover every foot of (a field) walking through it,” Glen Harris, a University of Georgia soil scientist, said in the release. “I’ve worked cotton 20 years, but I probably could miss something out there without (the overhead camera).”

This type of technology is still a few years out from being commercially available, according to the release.

But researchers already are using drones to take aerial photographs of research plots.

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