I was at the Ft. Wayne farm show this week. While I was there, one of the booths that seemed to catch peoples' eye was the drone booth. Personally, I can't see a reason to pay good money to have one. Most fertility problems can't be fixed until the following year and most insect problems occur towards the bottom of the plant or under the leaves. I see a use for drones in a cattle operation, especially during calving season and after severe weather. When I served overseas, we used drones to locate the enemy or suspicious activity, so I can see the benefit for some. As a crop farmer, however, I can't see much use for drones other than to spy on the neighboring competitor. Am I missing something?
The discussion about Unmanned Aviaton Systems (UAS), also called drones, is in Precision Ag Talk.
As you will suspect, the proponents are talking about how much territory you can cover quickly. They are using different means of detecting issues. For example, maybe a color comparison will reveail what human eyes would see as leaf lesions. Maybe some odor or chemical is released that can be used to detect a fungus whereas we would llook for a color. Same with bugs.
I'm also a skeptic. Most farmers don't scout now, anyway, they simply apply treatments prophylactically or because the neighbor is.
Anyway, check out Precision Ag talk for a little more discussion.