While most headlines about unmanned aircrafts and farms have involved animal rights groups, universities and businesses are experimenting with ways drones can be used to a farmer’s advantage.
Universities are using unmanned aircrafts to monitor crops, taking detailed pictures of high-value commodities to see things unseen by the naked eye. On top of the improved details, farmers can use the aircrafts at a much cheaper price point than aircrafts requiring a pilot.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Oregon State University is one of several universities using drones for nonmilitary purposes on the farm. The technology is part of the growing interest in precision agriculture, using new tools like iPads and GPS to monitor crops. Information gathered by precision agriculture can show crop conditions and help a producer determine which fields need more water, additional fertilizer or protection from insects.
Currently, only farms working with universities conducting the research can use the unmanned aircrafts, but the technology will be more available once the Federal Aviation Administration established guidelines, expected by September 2015.