As the idea of drones being used by local farmers is starting to catch on, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, also known as CIMMYT, is already going all in. They are already using multiple drones to monitor and measure thousands of wheat lines. The trial is being conducted at the Norman Borlaug Experiment Station in the Yaqui Valley, near Obergon, Mexico.
The drones are being used to measure everything from the physical state and condition of the crops, to the biomass, canopy temperature, water needs and overall projected crop yield. This approach gives researchers and farmers the ability to monitor and determine the best course of action to take with the crops on a daily basis, in real time.
Mexico and the CIMMYT are not the only ones who are seeing the advantages of using drones however. Robert Blair, an Idaho farmer, built a drone with a friend of his to monitor his 1,500 acre farm. It gives him a bird’s eye view of his barley, wheat, peas, alfalfa and cattle. When Blair was asked why he made his own drone he simply replied with, “It’s a great tool to collect information to make better decisions, and we’re just scratching the surface of what it can do for farmers,” said Blair.
Experts have already indicated that the agricultural field is likely going to be the largest market for commercial and private drone use in the near future. It gives farmers the ability to easily monitor their crops and livestock quickly, without potentially overlooking various parts of his crops or farmstead. Once the FAA creates a finalized set of guidelines for drone use, experts predict that the drone industry will create more than 100,000 jobs, of which roughly 80% of these jobs will rest within the agriculture and farming industry.
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