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.


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.


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.


Drone software gives offline farmers real-time images

PCWorld

Cloud computing is all well and good for enterprises with big-data applications and consumers with virtual assistants, but it runs into some limits in an isolated cornfield. On farms and other places far from powerful computers and network connections, there's a trend away from centralized computing even while most of the IT world is embracing it. In remote places, the internet of things requires local processing as well as data-center analysis. So-called edge computing is coming to industries including manufacturing, utilities, shipping, and oil and gas. Agriculture is getting it, too.


Technologizing Agriculture

Communications of the ACM

Agricultural businesses usually have a massive number of trackable assets (plants, livestock, and machinery), often operate in wide geographic areas in which these assets are located, and are subject to operational factors often beyond their control, such as the amount of sunlight or rainfall they receive, or temperature fluctuations. As such, agriculture is ripe for the adoption of new technologies to help monitor and manage assets on a granular level, and everything from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, robots, and drones are being used by farms around the globe. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture notes that the farms of today are avid users of agriculture technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial imaging, and GPS technology, which are more precise and efficient than humans alone, and allow for safer, more efficient, and more profitable operations. One example of how technology enables new farming techniques is the use of robotic harvesting on indoor farms, which today account for a tiny fraction of the 900 million acres of traditional farmland in the U.S. However, these indoor farms are well suited to the growth of vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, and other leafy greens, are highly sustainable, generally feature an average yield per acre more than 10 times higher than that of outdoor farms, and represent a continuation of the agricultural sector's trend toward incorporating precision agriculture techniques to improve yields and become more sustainable.