Spring has finally arrived here on the east coast of the US. I’m just starting to fly again after a break over the winter. I’m primarily flying fields to discover / define the value drones can bring to small field agriculture. By small field I mean fields under 200 acres. I’m working with Operators that till several thousand acres, composed of multiple small fields spread over a large geographic area, so each field has to be flown independently.
Flying small fields means more pilot time, more batteries, you get the picture. While, in the past, I have been flying at the DD recommended altitudes, usually around 350’, I’m looking for real word experiences that balance the equation. Better imagery vs more flight and battery time.
Would anyone with experience flying corn, soybean and wheat fields please share what you are finding to be the best altitude to fly to gain the highest value from the images? I’m not doing stand counts, just imaging emergence and plant health (for now).
If you wouldn’t mind, would you share any value you’ve been able to discover from your flights? i.e. missed planting due to equipment failure, insect damage, deer damage, etc.
From last year, we were not able to discover value based upon increased productivity. It is hard to quantify how a 1 - 5% gain in production was obtained on a small field basis. A good spring season is all it takes vs better management.
I’d like this to become a topic that helps drive drone usage in agriculture so please ask anyone you know flying for agriculture to come contribute.