Usage and interest in drones within farming

jmatthes

Member
Hi and thanks in advance :)
I wanted to get thoughts and opinions from people for usage of drones and the kind of information you can get.
Searching on the forums i see that there is some interest in drone counting livestock for example and people mentioning apps like Skippy (to scout your field), but i've not seen anyone mention things like using drones to spray fields and what are your thoughts on drones like that. If it's something that interests people or seen as a viable tool that people may add to their toolbox.

But i'm also curious on peoples thoughts on data such as NDVI images of their fields and if data like this is even useful to you. Yes with drones you can fly around and visually see your fields with a traditional camera. But with NDVI images it uses a multispectrual camera to take near-infrared images of your field as a drone flies over, then some processing involved to make sense of the image. The output being the image below.
1649424929048.png

Where healthier plants reflect more infrared light and unhealthier and stressed plants doing the opposite, you'd be able to see problem areas a bit clearer and review the data year over year to check for patterns. From what I've been able to see, this looks to be more popular in counties like the US but not really seeing anything in the UK. I was wondering why is that? is that from lack of knowing about it or is it not as useful or just lack of people doing this since the cameras are a bit pricey.
I know that this isnt going to replace crop walking but i would imagine it being something that can be done once a month or longer, to get quantifiable and visual data on crops to identify problem areas.
 

exmoor dave

Member
Location
exmoor, uk
Hi and thanks in advance :)
I wanted to get thoughts and opinions from people for usage of drones and the kind of information you can get.
Searching on the forums i see that there is some interest in drone counting livestock for example and people mentioning apps like Skippy (to scout your field), but i've not seen anyone mention things like using drones to spray fields and what are your thoughts on drones like that. If it's something that interests people or seen as a viable tool that people may add to their toolbox.

But i'm also curious on peoples thoughts on data such as NDVI images of their fields and if data like this is even useful to you. Yes with drones you can fly around and visually see your fields with a traditional camera. But with NDVI images it uses a multispectrual camera to take near-infrared images of your field as a drone flies over, then some processing involved to make sense of the image. The output being the image below.
View attachment 1027848
Where healthier plants reflect more infrared light and unhealthier and stressed plants doing the opposite, you'd be able to see problem areas a bit clearer and review the data year over year to check for patterns. From what I've been able to see, this looks to be more popular in counties like the US but not really seeing anything in the UK. I was wondering why is that? is that from lack of knowing about it or is it not as useful or just lack of people doing this since the cameras are a bit pricey.
I know that this isnt going to replace crop walking but i would imagine it being something that can be done once a month or longer, to get quantifiable and visual data on crops to identify problem areas.


From a livestock/ grazing point of view, the ability to measure pasture covers accurately via drone rather than plate metering on foot, could be a real benefit
 

Donny

Member
Mixed Farmer
The use of drones in almost every sector of the economy is growing fast, but drone usage in the agricultural industry is booming now. I thinkthe gadget helps a lot everyone.
 

Goodolddays

Member
Trade
There are loads of people and companies offering services with NDVI imaging either from drones or satellite images. Maps for weed populations, maps for variable rate application etc. Spraying a bit more tricky in the UK at the moment as it is classified as an aerial application, but there are discussions going on, so may change in the future.
 

jmatthes

Member
Thanks for the inputs!
On the subject of Areal application, from what i know it's as simple as filing the correct paper work and having the right drone licence to do so, i understand it's a bit more of a faff but would have assumed the paperwork out outweigh the continence and cost of using drones to spray.
I understand they say to allow for 10 days to have the paperwork processed so doing last minute fields isn't possible, but preventative and routine spraying i thought would be the main purpose of areal application.
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
I have a friend in NZ that herds all her deer and goats with a drone and has for a number of years! Lot quicker and easier than yomping round the hills!
 

farmerm

Member
Location
Shropshire
Hi and thanks in advance :)
I wanted to get thoughts and opinions from people for usage of drones and the kind of information you can get.
Searching on the forums i see that there is some interest in drone counting livestock for example and people mentioning apps like Skippy (to scout your field), but i've not seen anyone mention things like using drones to spray fields and what are your thoughts on drones like that. If it's something that interests people or seen as a viable tool that people may add to their toolbox.

But i'm also curious on peoples thoughts on data such as NDVI images of their fields and if data like this is even useful to you. Yes with drones you can fly around and visually see your fields with a traditional camera. But with NDVI images it uses a multispectrual camera to take near-infrared images of your field as a drone flies over, then some processing involved to make sense of the image. The output being the image below.
View attachment 1027848
Where healthier plants reflect more infrared light and unhealthier and stressed plants doing the opposite, you'd be able to see problem areas a bit clearer and review the data year over year to check for patterns. From what I've been able to see, this looks to be more popular in counties like the US but not really seeing anything in the UK. I was wondering why is that? is that from lack of knowing about it or is it not as useful or just lack of people doing this since the cameras are a bit pricey.
I know that this isnt going to replace crop walking but i would imagine it being something that can be done once a month or longer, to get quantifiable and visual data on crops to identify problem areas.
Such images often show up areas of difference but you then need to go to those areas to understand exactly what the issue is an what you can do about it. Ultimately the images are all well and good but often it tells you what you allready know, headlands and corners get compacted, parts of the field have difficult soil. Often there are not simple solutions in evening up the crop. There are several providers of NDVI images in the UK but it is not particularly cheap. Our regular cloud cover can also limit the number of useful images available. I've yet to really see any NDVI image that highlighted something my eyes can't see in a regular photo but maybe I just have multispectral eyesight 🤷‍♂️
 

jmatthes

Member
Such images often show up areas of difference but you then need to go to those areas to understand exactly what the issue is an what you can do about it. Ultimately the images are all well and good but often it tells you what you allready know, headlands and corners get compacted, parts of the field have difficult soil. Often there are not simple solutions in evening up the crop. There are several providers of NDVI images in the UK but it is not particularly cheap. Our regular cloud cover can also limit the number of useful images available. I've yet to really see any NDVI image that highlighted something my eyes can't see in a regular photo but maybe I just have multispectral eyesight 🤷‍♂️
Thanks for the detailed response! I'm a bit surprised to hear that getting NDVI images would be quite expensive, as the process to do so is relatively easy and cheap, aside from the camera cost.
But i agree with your comment about able to easily spot areas that are struggling from a regular image, i was under the assumption because the process to capture NDVI images is quite quick and straightforward that it would be cheap. Then by having a field scanned on a regular basis that you'd spot areas of stress before it becomes visible in a regular photo. So more as a preventative and early detection.

Aside from measuring pasture cover from drone data, spraying a field with a drone seems to be the most desired, if the process to get permission to fly do so is a bit more straight forward. With the obvious benefit is cost saving on fuel.
 
Thanks for the inputs!
On the subject of Areal application, from what i know it's as simple as filing the correct paper work and having the right drone licence to do so, i understand it's a bit more of a faff but would have assumed the paperwork out outweigh the continence and cost of using drones to spray.
I understand they say to allow for 10 days to have the paperwork processed so doing last minute fields isn't possible, but preventative and routine spraying i thought would be the main purpose of areal application.
There will be very few products which have for Ariel application listed on the product label.
 

Hjcarter

Member
Thanks for the inputs!
On the subject of Areal application, from what i know it's as simple as filing the correct paper work and having the right drone licence to do so, i understand it's a bit more of a faff but would have assumed the paperwork out outweigh the continence and cost of using drones to spray.
I understand they say to allow for 10 days to have the paperwork processed so doing last minute fields isn't possible, but preventative and routine spraying i thought would be the main purpose of areal application.
Unless you're just spraying fert you would need to get the sprayer tested and certified and get the appropriate spraying licence as well. That's as well as all the drone/ flying permissions.

Not saying it can't be done but for the amount you could carry on board, and thus the area you could spray on a tank I would imagine that the return on investment could be marginal.
 

SamN

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Cornwall
Since I posted in the last drone topic, I have bought a DJI mini 2. Think I suggested an app for counting sheep etc, and did find it useful when checking for sheep on their back as I had a persistent offender. Still checked them on foot every day. They don't seem to mind the drone.
dji_export_1648025831159.jpg
dji_export_1644050318461.jpg
 

Goodolddays

Member
Trade
Not so sure aerial application in the UK is as easy as you make out. Very few if any products in the UK can be applied via aerial application. Plane or helicopter application of pesticides on a farm scale I do not think is allowed. Very protective of waterways and pesticides getting into them. As it stands drones would be treated the same as a plane or helicopter, which is the current main stumbling block. Future legislation may treat them differently which would allow more targeted use, but there would be restrictions like maximum height above the crop, how to deal with fields with powerlines running through them etc. First uses might be more targeted spot spraying, as payload restrictions mean whole field applications logistically difficult. Then you have the whole issue if pesticide manufacturers will support control from their products applied this way. They do not test efficacy via drones, is the product hitting the target and getting the same coverage as from a boom 50cm above the crop?
The way forward will probably be more these field maps captured by drone or satellite linking to the standard sprayer which can then switch on and off in the right part of the field. This type of system already exists.
So to summarise I think drones spraying crops on a large scale in the UK is a bit of a red herring.
 

Muddyroads

Member
Location
Devon
I’m old enough to have been involved with aerial fert and spraying by helic in the mid 80’s as a student in Herefordshire. The fert spreading was effective as ground conditions weren’t a problem, but payloads would be beyond a drone. The most memorable bit about the spraying was seeing the vortex coming off the rotor and finding yellow spray residue on our cars over half a mile from the spraying site. They didn’t come again.
 

glasshouse

Member
Location
lothians
I’m old enough to have been involved with aerial fert and spraying by helic in the mid 80’s as a student in Herefordshire. The fert spreading was effective as ground conditions weren’t a problem, but payloads would be beyond a drone. The most memorable bit about the spraying was seeing the vortex coming off the rotor and finding yellow spray residue on our cars over half a mile from the spraying site. They didn’t come again.
Oh, the eighties……..
What a time that was.❤️
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

court-640x360.jpg
A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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