In Rwanda, farmer Jean Pierre Nzabahimana used to plant his fields by scattering seed across his fields with his hands. The seedlings grew up in clumps and not surprisingly, the harvest rarely produced much. Today, Mr. Nzabahimana no longer relies on chance. Instead of scattering seed by hand, he plants crops in disciplined lines with military precision separated by precise distances. Applying scientific discipline to farming has enabled Mr. Nzabahimana to go from subsistence farming to profitable farming where he can grow enough food for himself and sell the excess to market.
That’s the difference between letting chance control your harvest and using the latest scientific methods to maximize your crop yield. While it’s easy to think that Rwanda farmers may lack technology and knowledge to grow crops efficiently, American farmers are no different if they willfully turn a blind eye to the latest farming technologies available to them.
While people read reports of drones used by the military or tested by Amazon to deliver packages, a new report from RnR Market Research states the largest market for drones could be worth nearly $3.7 billion by 2022. That market? The agriculture industry.
Today’s farmers rely on technology that farmers from a generation ago could never dream about such as satellite imagery. Each new advance in agricultural technology simply gives farmers more information to plant crops more efficiently. Tomorrow’s farmers will likely rely on today’s methods along with drone technology.
Drones can hover above farmlands and monitor for pests, soil content, and crop yields in ways that sampling techniques can’t match. The future is obvious. Drones promise to revolutionize the agricultural industry as much as satellite imagery has given farmers a birds-eye view of their land that was never possible in the past. If you’re not looking for how to apply drones to maximize your crop yields, you’re risking obsolescence.
Drones aren’t necessarily replacing satellite imagery but supplementing them. Satellites images can give you a broad view of farmland, but drones promise to monitor field conditions, create fertilization maps, predict yields, and assess crop health on a more selective basis. A drone can scan just part of a farm far easier and faster than any satellite could ever do and analyze the land in much closer proximity as well. Drone technology isn’t just a new technology for the agricultural industry, but part of the future.
So don’t get left behind. Just as Rwandan farmer, Jean Pierre Nzabahimana, would never go back to hand planting his seeds after seeing the benefits of applying scientific methods to his harvest, so will tomorrow’s farmers never go back to growing crops without drone technology. Drones are not only coming, but here to stay and the agricultural industry stands to benefit from the growing capabilities of drones today and in the far future.