3 Lessons Drones Will Teach Us About the 2020 Crop

Two drone gurus who use drones for imagery and application will present at Farm Journal Field Days. ( MGN )

You can categorize drone use in agricultural into two buckets—for imagery and for application.

Two drone gurus who represent both uses will give their top tips during the Farm Journal Field Days. Click here to register for free.

Rantizo CEO Michael Ott will be on the panel to detail how his startup just received approval for swarming—up to three drones in a single field for application.

And crop consultant Erich Eller will share how his business uses drones to help farmers be better agronomic decision makers.

Eller shares there are three things drones will teach us about the 2020 crop:

  1. The sins of the planter haunt us all season.  Field conditions and soil temps were not in a “good” window and planters were rolling. This led to uneven stands and needed replants. Eller and his team at ForeFront Ag Solutions were able to use drones to fly over a field and quickly do an accurate stand count. The drones allowed them to answer the pivotal question:  Do we tear it up and start over or even spot in? Eller says the drones supplied the high quality data to make a well informed decision on.
  2. The technology helps focus scouting efforts. During a dry spell, corn was showing potassium deficiency in areas, and the drones were able to pick up the difference. Eller’s team overlaid the imagery with recent soil test results and it was not adding up as the soil tests didn’t indicate any issues. So they headed to the field with iPads and shovels, and they found compaction issues with dry soil and stunted roots. A foliar application of potassium micronutrients and biostimulants within the next 48 hours. Eller says, “I’m not sure we would have found this issue with “normal walk and wonder” scouting vs directed scouting.”
  3. Scale and timeliness matter. “It still impresses us that in a single flight, we can see 100% of the field,” Eller says. “So we can get reports that show weed issues, insect chewing, diseases, and nutrient deficiency.” He says that has increased their effectiveness and timeliness in addressing agronomic issues with the best recommendations.

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