After enduring the U.S.-China trade war for the past few years, which drove down demand for American crops and disrupted longstanding supply chains, farmers deserved a break. But instead, insult was added to injury, and record flooding in the spring of 2019 interrupted planting across much of the Midwest, costing farmers millions of dollars.
Now comes COVID-19, which brings on new challenges in the form of further U.S.-China tensions, the potential for outbreaks on the farm, and a drop in ethanol demand.
Now more than ever, farmers need to double down on the tools that drive tangible ROI. Through DroneDeploy, growers can gather field edge insights to understand the health of their farm in minutes through Plant Health live map – all from their smartphone or iPad. From planting to harvest, these insights provide a range of bottom-line benefits during your growing operation.
At the start of every year, before planting, many farmers use drones and drone software to understand field conditions. DroneDeploy can help farmers determine whether weeds or pests have emerged from winter rain and snow, and which fields may need specific treatments before planting. Comparing current conditions with historical data and maps, meanwhile, ensure you’re spotting trends in your fields and adjusting accordingly. All these steps help farmers set up their operations to maximize yield for the year before planting a single seed.
Once farmers get closer to planting, they’ll want to address problem areas. For example, as farmers know too well, the past several years have been unusually wet with spring flooding. This year, farmers may be looking to put in a drainage system that could alleviate issues should we see similar weather. But drainage tiles can be expensive, and they may not be necessary on higher elevation fields and areas.
Drones and drone software can create a topographic map that’s accurate to within inches of your field’s elevation profile. This map empowers growers to understand where a drainage system could be put into place, without installing in unnecessary areas and raising costs.
Using drone data to identify areas for specific input management, like replanting and nitrogen application, helps growers gain more accurate yield projections across hundreds of acres. Many farmers tinker with when and how much nitrogen to apply to their fields. DroneDeploy provides tangible data to explain how much nitrogen you should be using. This can result in better yields and tremendous savings if you are currently overdoing your nitrogen application. And that’s true for just about all of your inputs.
“Defoliant spraying is another $11–15 per acre,” says Justin Metz, Technology Integration Specialist, Bowles Farming Company. “So for every acre, we don’t have to spray, we increase our net profit for the harvest.”
DroneDeploy's Live Map helps farmers understand what’s happening at the field edge. Even though you may have a good sense of places where there is standing water, pest infestations, or issues with your crops, DroneDeploy helps you understand the crop variability patterns, what’s happening every season, and why. That enables you to take action before you lose yields and profits.
After harvest, drones and drone software can provide tremendous help to understand the year’s crop and yield better, so growers can learn for future seasons.
DroneDeploy automatically organizes and stores your maps by date and geographical location, so it’s easy to track a crop’s progress over time. After the busy harvest, this provides an opportunity to dig deeper into problem areas, take a closer look at patterns, and visualize how crop emergence and plant health played out through the growing season. Should you want to review elevation maps and conduct drainage repair: DroneDeploy can help address problem areas so you can get ahead of issues before the new season.
These are trying times, no doubt. But few industries are better prepared than agriculture to adapt quickly and endure uncertainty. Farmers are some of the most innovative, adaptable entrepreneurs in the world. While global change is hurting many industries, farmers are used to the unexpected. Drones software is a new solution that pulls meaningful insights from a drone to facilitate decisions in the field and surface trends to help them through uncertain times.
Interested in learning how growers can leverage DroneDeploy at every stage of their operation? Download our free eBook.