FARMERS' EYE IN THE SKY

San Jose Mercury News - Technology

Equipped with a state-of-the-art thermal camera, the drone crisscrossed the field, scanning it for cool, soggy patches where a gopher may have chewed through the buried drip irrigation line and caused a leak. In the drought-prone West, where every drop of water counts, California farmers are in a constant search for ways to efficiently use the increasingly scarce resource. Cannon Michael is putting drone technology to work on his fields at Bowles Farming near Los Banos, 120 miles southeast of San Francisco. About 2,100 companies and individuals have federal permission to fly drones for farming, according to the drone industry's Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Federal regulators planned to relax the rules Monday on commercial drones, a move that could spur even greater use of such aircraft on farms.


Al drones help beat California drought as they analyse soil and look for leaks

Daily Mail

Equipped with a state-of-the-art thermal camera, the drone crisscrossed the field, scanning it for cool, soggy patches where a gopher may have chewed through the buried drip irrigation line and caused a leak. In the drought-prone West, where every drop of water counts, California farmers are in a constant search for ways to efficiently use the increasingly scarce resource. Pictured above, Danny Royer, vice president of technology at Bowles Farming Co., prepares to pilot a drone over a tomato field near Los Banos, Calif. Farmers say leak-detecting drones can help save massive amounts of water. The video camera is paired up with a smartphone or computer tablet, which is used to control the drone.


Drones meet drought in skies of storied California farmland

U.S. News

In this photo taken July 25, 2016, Danny Royer, vice president of technology at Bowles Farming Co., prepares to pilot a drone over a tomato field near Los Banos, Calif. The farm hired Royer this year to oversee drones equipped with a state-of-the-art thermal camera. The drone can scan from a bird's-eye view for cool, soggy patches where a gopher may have chewed through the buried drip irrigation line and caused a leak of water, a precious resource in drought-stricken California. On the farm's 2,400-acre tomato crop alone, this year drones could detect enough leaks to save water needed to sustain more than 550 families of four for a year.


Agriculture Drones Are Finally Cleared for Takeoff

IEEE Spectrum Robotics Channel

Tech-savvy farmers have been some of the earliest commercial adopters of drone technology, purchasing 45,000 drones last year alone. But if they were using the drones to check on the condition of their fields, spraying their crops, or keeping tabs on livestock, most of them were technically breaking the law. New U.S. federal rules that went into effect this summer, however, should make it easier for farmers to get a drone's-eye view of their fields. The new rules allow commercial drone operators to get certified via a written test, so long as they fly drones that meet certain weight and altitude guidelines. Before this, operators had to pay for a pilot's license and get a special exemption to use a drone, a slow and cumbersome process.


New Japanese farm drone hovers above rice fields and sprays pesticides and fertilisers

Daily Mail

Japanese farmers are testing a new drone that can hover above paddy fields and perform backbreaking tasks in a fraction of the time it takes a labourer. The drone applies pesticides and fertilizer to a rice field in 15 minutes - a job that takes more than an hour by hand and requires farmers to lug around heavy tanks. Developers of the new agricultural drone say it offers high-tech relief for rural communities facing a shortage of labour as young people leave for the cities. Pictured is a farmer in Japan's Tome region trialling the new technology'Our ultimate goal is to lower rice farming costs to one-fourth of what it is now,' Hiroshi Yanagishita, President of Nileworks, the Tokyo drone start-up behind the technology, told reporters Thursday. Nile-T18 was recently tested in Japan's Tome area – a region that has supplied rice to Tokyo since the 17th century.