Matt Hughes doesn’t mind being one of the first to use an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, in his farming operation, reports Chris Lusvardi of the Caspar Star Tribune.
The industry is still considered in its infancy, but Hughes and other farmers have started seeing the benefits of using such a system. The UAV Hughes began using this year is a starting point.
“You can’t wait for a perfect system,” said Hughes, a farmer from Shirley. “It is new. This time last year probably only a handful of farmers knew what to do.”
Hughes sees the industry changing as more information becomes available.
Farmers and others interested primarily in how UAVs, which are commonly referred to as drones, can be used in agricultural applications were able to learn more about the technology during the Precision Aerial Ag Show Wednesday at Progress City USA. The event ended Thursday at the site of the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, IL.
Decatur-based AgEngage organized the show.
The drone technology can be used as a tool in helping farmers make decisions but for the most part, it remains a toy while uses and regulations for it are sorted out, said Terry Brase, an agricultural education consultant from Iowa. The systems cannot be used for commercial purposes, Brase said.
“That’s where it truly becomes a tool,” Brase said.
The primary use being eyed in agriculture for the technology is to collect images. Unlike other countries, the equipment won’t used for direct application purposes, said Brent Johnson, a crop consultant in Iowa.