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ap204064
Visitor

Field managment

Im reaching out to all the famers out here to find out if aerial survailance of fields using small unmanned aircraft could be benificial in any way. I have an extensive backgound in unmanned aviation and was recently approached by a few local farmers asking if I would be able to launch a small aircraft that could provide a real time video feed of their fields. In doing this we were able to find where the most water damage has occured from flooding and high levels of insect infestation that caused severe crop damage all without firing up a single piece of farm equipment. We were able to cover hundreds of acres in no time. Could this be a service that many famers would be willing to pay for and if so, what would be a fair hourly rate that you would be willing to pay? Also, in a perfect world what would be the ideal amount of information you would look to obtain from an aerial survey and the minimum information you would expect to receive from the same survey and still be willing to pay without feeling cheated or ripped off?

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5 Replies
Frequent Contributor

Re: Field managment

Yes, would be interested in what you propose. As to what it may be worth paying, the cost would have to be measured with what increase in data would be avaialble from what we are doing currently, the quality of the data or information, and what could be done with the additional information provided. Can I learn new information that can benefit me has a dollar value. Learning new information for which I can do nothing about las minimial dollar value to me

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ap204064
Visitor

Re: Field managment

Makes complete sense. I guess the only real way to see how benificial the idea could be is to provide the service to a few local farmers at no cost for a season and see what benifits come from it. I know of a few big companies that have a similair service but only operate outside of the the U.S. due to FAA regulations. They provide a thermal mapping of your fields. I dont know what that does but is seems to be paying out for them. I appreciate the reply and hope I can get a little more input from more people. Thank you!

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Senior Contributor

Re: Field managment

Do you have FAA license? We have had many discussions on this site about it. I was under the impression at least license was require to fly as a business.
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ap204064
Visitor

Re: Field managment

I do not currently have an FAA license however one is in the works. The appropriate licensing can take up to 6 months depending on the complexity of the operation. So, yes a license is required to operate any kind of UAS for business purposes. The key to getting the ball rolling on a project like this is to make it as simple and basic as possible for the initial startup. The more complex the operation the more time it takes to obtain the initial licensing. This is why I am asking what kind of information would farmers find useful from an aerial survey? If high level, intricate details are desired then this is not a project I would likely pursue due to the cost and lengthy timeline. However, if the general census is that a simple aerial survery which would provide a birdseye view of the crops to help determin levels of crop damage or just a current overall status of the fields then I would be more incline to go ahead and push with it. I think the FAA rules are a little more laxed when using an airplane that is still manually operated over a fully autonomous aircraft. A manually operated plane can still be flown several miles out with a small amplifier and good video transmitter. Its not ideal but its a good starting point to get something like this in motion.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Field managment

There is a fair amount of discussion of this topic in our Precision Agriculture forum and some in our Farm Business forum.

You'll see some discussion of the pros and cons there.

http://community.agriculture.com/t5/Precision-Agriculture/Drone-use-in-agriculture/td-p/330035

http://community.agriculture.com/t5/Precision-Agriculture/FAA-Grounds-University-UAS/td-p/377414

There are more in that forum

 

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