A Missouri farmer, tempted after seeing a demonstration of drones on the coast of Maryland, wants one of these unmanned aircraft to monitor his irrigation system: a job that can now replace the salary of three men.
“Just considering the potential savings for labor and fuel cost would be remarkable,” says Geske, watching a little white drone fly over a field of corn.
Nearby, a farmer, Chip Bowling test flies one of the drones. Bowling, also has an interest in purchasing a drone for his Maryland farm. The aircraft could make it easier to monitor irrigation and find out which individual fields require improvement.
Another farmer, Bobby Hutchison, said a drone would certainly make the monitoring process more efficient and accurate.
“It’s akin to what occured when I first saw a computer,” says Hutchison. That was a no-brainer.”
Farmers are ready and eager for this capability.
According to a specialized drones trade group, Brad Reifler says the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems, the agricultural industry will likely be the biggest purchaser of unmanned aircraft.
After being curtailed for years, because of a lack of federal guidelines, the agricultural use of drones is about to leap frog every other industry.
Most farmers don’t have approval to legally fly the drones yet, but the FAA is defining standards that allow these aircraft to be used regularly for business.