Use of Drones for Agriculture on the Rise

Cody Nagel reported in today’s Omaha World-Herald that, “Steve Kyes owns roughly 2,800 acres of farmland north of here [Central City, Neb.], mostly corn and soybean fields.

“With the help of his stepson, Andrew Luebbe, and a hired employee, Kyes, 44, and his crew have focused on increasing their profits.

“Inside Kyes’ farm office sits an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) — commonly known as a drone — with the potential to make his operation more efficient and, maybe someday, more profitable.”

From the front page of the “Money” section in today’s Omaha World-Herald.

Today’s article noted that, “Across the country, farmers like Kyes are taking to the sky in hopes of improving production and quality on the ground. As always, there’s a cost-benefit equation: The bill for a drone and accessories can fly past $1,500, not counting specialized cameras or other gear.

“As government regulations are put in place and technology advancements continue, the popularity of UAVs on farms in the United States is projected to grow rapidly.

Farms eventually will account for an 80 percent share of the global commercial drone market, according to a 2013 report by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.”

Mr. Nagel added that, “Richard Ferguson, a professor of soil science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for 31 years, said drones have tremendous potential as a tool to improve management for farmers.

“‘There are a range of things that growers can accomplish with being able to look at a crop from an aerial perspective,’ Ferguson said, noting the movement toward computer-influenced precision agriculture, which marries computers and other technology with farming techniques on the ground.”

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