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January 12, 2014

Drones Could Increase Profits, Productivity

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

 

SteeverWeighing in at five pounds, unmanned aircraft have a bright future in farming. That’s according to agronomist Dr. Kevin Price of Kansas State University.
PriceThe technology will easily pay for itself very quickly. Even a one percent savings will be a great savings to the farmer, but we think you can do closer to two to three percent by improving their ability to put down fertilizer in the right places at the right time and save on their fertilizer costs and catch diseases earlier before it costs them a lot more to treat.
SteeverSpeaking at the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention, Price sees the primary farm application for drones as mapping tools to determine where fields need attention.
PriceThe first step will be that once they get the imagery they can just start looking at it and saying, ‘There’s a bad spot in my field; I need to go figure out what’s going on there.’ So you can use it even with low-level processing just as a crop scouting tool to start determining where there might be a problem.
SteeverPrice says that privacy issues are important and shouldn’t be minimized, but he says he would not like to see the technology held up while new laws are written.
PriceMy feelings are that most of the laws are already out there, the privacy laws, and what we need to do is make sure that people understand those laws and that if people are violating them then they should be punished for violating those laws.
SteeverPrice adds that farmers who use drones, in his words, should be good neighbors. At the AFBF Annual Convention in San Antonio. I’m Tom Steever.

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