AGWeb, leading farming journal recently wrote an article titled: “Drone Paid For Itself “10 To 20 Times Over” On Indiana Farm“. Despite the positive stories and stats showing how drones can improve a farm’s bottom line, there are still several things that might stick out to some drone professionals.
1st – Farmers truly don’t understand the value of drones. They also can’t find cost-effective solutions.
When UAVs entered the ag marketplace, they did so with considerable fanfare. But today, only 31% of U.S. farmers say they find value in using a drone. Forty percent of farmers don’t use one and don’t plan to, according to a March Pulse survey of more than 900 growers. An April 2017 survey showed similar results, with 37% of farmers saying they don’t use one.
Why the low rate of adoption, given the ongoing buzz around drone technology?
2nd – It still takes time to fly the drone & to analyze the data.
“Cost and the time required to fly the drone and then analyze the results are roadblocks for some farmers,” says Steve Cubbage, president and owner of Nevada, Mo.-based Record Harvest, a precision farming company. “Other farmers don’t want to own a drone because they have to be licensed to fly one on the farm, legally, if they make business decisions with it.
“You can hire a high schooler to fly it over your fields, but you still have to figure out what to do with the data,” he adds.
3rd – Farmers are stuck between commercial drones services and owning “prosumer” drones themselves.
Despite the commercial interest in drone technology, Bill Horan, a Purdue University Extension educator, recommends that farmers consider owning one. He notes that last year the university purchased 17 UAVs and distributed them to educators across the state to identify ways they can be used to help farmers. Horan flies a DJI Phantom Standard Quadcopter Drone with a 2.7K HD video camera.
What drone business are you in? Can you take advantage of this information?