What do you need to know about choosing the best drones for Agriculture? Drone technology is advancing at a rapid pace. If you are looking to invest in a new drone, it’s important that you have the right information before making a purchase.
In this blog post, we will answer all of your questions and provide some great recommendations on what drones might be best for your needs!
Top-Rated Best Commercial Agriculture Drones
DJI’s AGRAS MG-1S
The best agricultural drone for spraying
DJI Agras MG-1 crop-spraying drone is a top-quality model. This drone is more than just a camera drone. The drone can spray approximately 4,000 to 6,000 square feet in a matter of minutes.
You can use it in multiple cycles for larger farms but they can be used simultaneously for smaller farms. This beautiful piece, like other DJI products, requires minimal assembly and training.
We love the eight-rotor propulsion system. The system can transport 10kgs of chemical solutions and it can capture data up to 7-10 acres of ground in under an hour. Their new system is 40x more efficient than manual spraying, according to the company.
The DJI drone can fly 8 meters per second and sprays proportionally. It also has an amazing feature: it automatically adjusts the flow based on the environment and current flight conditions.
The atomizing spray nozzles are chemical-resistant and can last for many years without needing to be replaced or serviced.
The Agras was designed to provide peace of mind. It responds accurately to pilot inputs. There are three flight modes: smart mode (with manual plus mode), full manual mode (with manual mode), and manual plus mode (with full manual mode).
These modes allow you to choose the best mode for your agricultural mission. Smart mode is the best option for beginners. You can easily set grids in DJI MG-1 for autonomous dusting missions.
The DJI machine is water, dust, and corrosion-resistant. This makes it a durable and high-quality product.
It can be folded for easy transportation and storage. It is the best DJI drone to use for agriculture.
- Great spraying
- Resistant to chemicals, water, and dust
- Very durable
- All accessories included
- Flying modes for pilots who are nervous
SenseFly eBee Q
The Best Drone for Agriculture
The eBee SQ fixed-wing drone is easy to fly. It includes all features for flight planning, flight management, and the best image processing software.
It was specifically designed to fit within the senseFLY 5spectrum sensor’s workflow. There are four spectral bands and one visible RGB band.
It uses the precise remote sensing technology. This drone can be an excellent investment in precision agriculture because it monitors crops at all stages, from planting to harvest. This drone is ideal for anyone who needs to cover large areas of land quickly.
It can cover hundreds of acres in a single flight, according to our tests. It’s 10 times faster than other quadcopter drones. It can carry out more than 30 000 missions per day, according to the company.
The eBee flight can capture different types of data, including topography, 3D maps, soil temperature, and soil H2O levels. It can also count plant counts and other vegetative indices.
To create vegetative index maps, you can use some softwares such as AIRINOV, MicaSense Atlas, or Pix4Dmapper AG/Pro.
We also liked the eMotion Ag flight plan and ground station software. These make it much easier to create a flight. To get started, you will need to upload your field boundaries to the FMIS system.
The pilot is responsible for surveying the mission and setting the appropriate image resolution. The software will then generate the best flight plan. It is perfect for precision agricultural drone. It also comes with analytic software that processes data.
- Excellent functioning
- It’s easier to plan your flight.
- Workflow compatible
- Large area coverage
- More precise
PrecisionHawk Scouting package
Another amazing package is the Precison Hawk. It can be used to farm and increase crop yields. Crop scouting packages include DJI Phantom 4 Pro as well as Precision Hawk flight analytics software.
In-field flight monitoring software, visual scanners, data mapper light processing software, and an app for flight control are all included in the package.
It is compatible with both desktop and mobile devices. The entire drone can be controlled with your smartphone.
The Phantom 4 Pro camera drone is capable of completing most tasks. You will need to spend an additional amount to make this package a complete crop surveying machine.
These unmanned aerial survey drones are said to improve precision farming operations’ production efficiency. This agriculture drone is an affordable tool that can be used to help growers get better crop analysis and aerial image data
The expert professional pointed out that everything was great, but it also has some shortcomings. The Datamapper algorithms are required to calculate the image’s value.
It also does not have a multispectral sensor that can capture any type of NDVI data. If you have a large farm and need to analyze its quality, we recommend this package.
- Excellent functioning
- Complete kit
- It’s so simple
- Includes analysis software
DJI Smart Farming Package
The DJI smart farming package is a kit designed to adapt existing precision agriculture technologies. The package includes a standard DJI M100 drone with multispectral and visual sensors. One year of Data Mapper software is also included in the package.
This software can be used to create 2D and 3-D maps. The software can also be used to analyze different crops and determine different vegetative indexes.
We believe that using different analysis tools can give you a better understanding of yield and crop conditions, allowing you to make the best decisions. DataMapper Infield, a ground desktop application and a mobile app, makes the flight easier.
This app allows you to define the survey coverage and add control points to improve calibration. You can view all results from the survey on your smartphone.
Experts say that the new farming DJI package can be used to perform a professional-grade survey on your agriculture drones. It is easy to fly and comes completely assembled. Stability is guaranteed. The ability to cover large areas is impressive. Easy flight controls are available.
And the best part? You can easily analyze the results. This beauty can be used for up to 35 minutes on a single charge.
- Excellent functioning
- It’s easier to plan your flight.
- Workflow compatible
- Large area coverage
- More precise
DJI Agras T16
Best FPV Drone for Agriculture
Although it is expensive, the DJI Agras T16 can be a great investment for those who need to gather the most precise data via sensors. The 4K camera can detect data in just seconds on acres upon acres of ground.
The DJI Agras T16’s most distinctive feature is its ability to live stream data directly to you. The DJI Agras T16 is able to stream data directly to you, regardless of whether it’s crop health, number of crops, humidity, or any other information that is pertinent for your business. It pays for itself, as they say.
Automated drones can also be used in agriculture. For instance, specific wavebands can be captured to assess plant health using multispectral imaging devices that farmers can use easily.
These DJI drones can also be used for volume measurements and land overview. New tech programming allows drones to fly over routes and capture pictures. The images are then used to create 3D maps using post-programming.
Farmers will benefit from all of the new techs, as they can perform multiple tasks with a single drone. All of the updated programming in 3d modeling software will also provide accurate results regarding irrigation and plant health.
- High-Efficiency Operation
- 24.7 Acres in 1 Hour
- High Payload Capable
- Increased safety and reliability
- High-Performance Radar
- Flight Safety with Extended Range and Vision System
- Cannot operate in China, Japan, and South Korea.
Parrot Bluegrass Fields Agricultural Quadcopter
Parrot Bluegrass field drone is very versatile and ready-to-fly. It can scan all of the crops to give you a better idea about how the farming process is progressing.
Parrot Bluegrass Field is a drone that can be used for precision farming and agriculture. It gives valuable insights that can help increase productivity and improve the quality of crops. Parrot Bluegrass drone is used for agricultural spraying. It is a fixed-wing drone.
Many farmers use this drone for their spraying and other features that increase the yield. This agriculture drone was easy to use and has a good camera. This drone can take high-quality pictures.
This fixed-wing drone is easy to fly and features a multispectral sensor as well as a front RGB camera with high-resolution 14MP. It also comes with the Parrot Fields mobile application to help you understand the fieldwork flow.
You also get full access to Pix4Dfields cloud and desktop software. These softwares are very useful for analyzing the data of crops. This software is only available for a year.
- Great camera quality
- Complete kit
- It’s so simple
- Does not have the ability to water or spray
DJI Matrice 100
The DJI Matrice 100 quadcopter is one of the most popular agricultural drones. It has dual battery options that provide extended flight time up to 40 minutes and many programming options that will please those who have to manage the farm.
Dji systems’ standard features, such as GPS, flight controller, and Dji Lightbridge, will allow pilots to navigate even the most challenging tasks and give them more time to fly.
Commercial operators will love the DJI Matrice 100. This agriculture drone is not the right one for you if you are looking for an easy-to-use, out-of-the-box solution.
The M100’s ability to easily be customized to house third-party sensors is where it really shines. This is a future-proof solution that can be customized to house third-party sensors.
The best thing about the Matrice 100 was its compatibility. Users love the expansion bays that allow them to personalize their flight experience. And the guidance system makes it simple to avoid collisions and be a novice pilot.
The Matrice 100 also allows you to connect to OculusRift. This is a big upgrade from the DJI pilot App. One of the coolest features of the Matrice 100 is the pilot’s ability to control the gimbal direction simply by moving your head.
- Flight time of up to 23 minutes (40 for dual batteries).
- 49 mph is the top speed
- Mounting of components to balance can be customized
- Dual UART and CAN ports
- Acceptance of additional expansion bays for cameras and sensors, computing boards, communication instruments, and custom instruments
- Below 5.4 Pounds
- It is not easy to use
DJI T600 Inspire 1
The Inspire makes it easy to position the camera while in flight. It has retractable landing gear that raises when the aircraft takes off so the propellers are out of sight.
This agricultural drone can be useful for farming. It can be controlled by one person, but the camera can be operated by the other. This could prove to be very useful when you are really trying to get down to business.
The remote control looks very similar to Phantom 3’s: It consists of two control sticks and dials. These control buttons set exposure and provide tilt direction for the gimbal.
The Autopilot app for IOS allows you to perform advanced maneuvers. It can orbit and provide follow mode to track objects such as a cattle herd member that has escaped your farm confine.
The control length is approximately one mile. When the battery life drops below 10%, an automated landing sequence will be initiated.
- Ready to fly
- Durable carbon fiber arms
- Modular; upgradeable design
- Retractable arms
- It can shoot 4K videos and high-resolution photos with its 12mp camera
- Both veteran and novice drone pilots can benefit from security features
- Lower flight time
- Remote does not have a viewing screen
- A bit pricey
How To Choose The Best Drones For Agriculture?
Image Processing Software
Image processing software is an essential component of surveying. You want to be able to see the entire area that your agriculture drone has captured, so you should always buy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) equipped with 4K sensors. However, the majority of agriculture drones can take 720p images. This is fine.
Multi-Rotor Drone or Fixed Wing Drone
This is one of the most subjective subjects. It all depends on how many acres you have. Fixed-wing drone is the best option if your land is large at 300 acres or more. These cost more. Multi rotor drones is a good option if your lot is smaller or you have decent land that’s not industrial-sized.
Most agricultural drones come with software. If there isn’t, you can get the most important software from Pix4D or PrecisionMapper, DataMapper, and Correlator3D.
Common Problems When Flying Agricultural Drones
Drone for agriculture is not just your average consumer-grade camera drone. These agricultural drones are sophisticated data-gathering tools that can be used by serious professionals. The prices for fully functional, ready-to-fly agriculture drone systems start at $1,500 and go up to well over $25,000
Two types of professionals might be interested in owning an agricultural drone:
- Farmers who wish to fly their own imaging missions are welcome;
- Agriculture service providers and other people who fly agricultural drones for farmers.
Please note that you can fit in either one of these categories.
All agricultural drone activity is considered commercial drone operation by the FAA.
If you are buying a drone solely for agricultural purposes, you should be familiar with the consumer and commercial guidelines in your area. This is an essential step.
A few professionals have provided us with a list that addresses common problems when flying an agricultural drone. To ensure you don’t do the same, we recommend that you go through them all.
Many agricultural drones were confiscated because they took photos of people without their knowledge. Your drone could also be hit by a gun, though it is unlikely.
It’s always safer to be safe than sorry. You should ensure that your drone does not capture images of neighboring fields.
This could lead to the drone being considered illegal and violate state privacy laws. The laws governing drones in the United States are particularly strict. There are more than 25 US states that have passed drone laws.
We recommend that you consult your local lawyer about drone laws in your area.
Our research team recommended that drone pilots ensure there is good connectivity and bandwidth in their farmland. Many farmlands in the US lack cell coverage or connectivity. This applies to your land. You will need to do extensive background research.
If your land is not connected, you can store images/videos locally on the drone or nearby station, and upload them to your office later.
We recommend that you avoid buying a agriculture drone that requires a constant connection. It is harmful to agriculture if a drone needs to be connected.
3. Data Ownership
These agriculture drones produce image data generated by many people, including farmers and other agricultural professionals. A lot of images can be accessed by country officials, drone operators, land managers, surveyors, and others.
It is important to ensure that your data does not get into the wrong hands, as it could cause damage to your farmland.
You can get professional advice for data ownership. You can hire someone to do an aerial survey of your farm, then process the images through a third-party and share the images with that third party.
The farmer or landowner should have the right to all data generated by agriculture drones over your property. These third parties must be able to read the right they have generated.
4. FAA Regulations & Operator Certification
According to the FAA, flying unmanned aerial drones are always considered a commercial idea. Before they can fly drones over your property, precision agriculture drone operator must be certified remote pilots and FAA operators.
5. EPA Regulations
The EPA has the right of access to data generated by drones flying above the property. This is something you can’t live without. It is important to be aware of data retention and storage policies.
6. Interference With Other Aircraft
You should notify the authorities if you plan to use your agriculture drone for multiple purposes, such as crop spraying. Before you fly, make sure to file a flight plan at the local airport. This will ensure that your drone does not interfere with any other manned aircraft.
7. Know Your Contract Rights
A professional lawyer should be consulted if you are an agriculture drone operator or an agricultural surveyor. Know your laws and what your limits are, how to fly drones safely, the precautions you should take before you start flying, as well as any rules and safety guidelines that apply to flying quads in your area.
Drones In Agriculture FAQs
What are drones used for in agriculture?
You can use them for many purposes, including checking plant health and applying pesticides. These devices allow farmers to quickly and easily interact with individual plants or view entire fields.
Can Drones Be Used To Gauge Plant Health?
A drone can be equipped with a Near Infrared Camera, (NIR), to create NDVI maps. A map such as this can be used to detect problems in a crop because healthy plants absorb red light and reflect green light.
How Can a Drone Make Crop Management Easier?
A drone can quickly take over a whole field, which has many benefits to the grower. A drone can help you estimate the damage to crops caused by storms and debris, and it can also speed up the cleanup.
It can help growers to better predict crop loss and catch problems before they become serious.
What is the most important thing about an agricultural drone?
Flight time and durability are two important factors to remember. To cover large areas, you will want to make sure your drone has a long flight duration.
Most recreational drones have flight times between 10 and 15 minutes, which is far too short.
You also want to make sure that your drone can handle the dusty and dirty environment that a farm requires. This is why many agricultural drones are more durable than their recreational counterparts.
Why Are Drones Used In Precision Agriculture?
The use of drones to monitor farms and agriculture is a recent trend. It is important to obtain geo-tagged images from the air.
Drones survey areas less than 50 hectares in size are more affordable. Drones are used for field surveys that cover less than 50 hectares.
Drones produce data that is more precise than other drones. These data greatly improve the performance and efficiency of farms.
There are rumors that drones will be restricted from being used for agricultural purposes under the new FAA rules.
The new Part 107 rules state that drones should only collect data within the operator’s visual line of sight. The drone should not collect data that is beyond the operator’s visual lines.
This poses a problem for farms with larger areas. This rule will be beneficial to most farms in the United States, with only 10% having an issue.
Precision agriculture specialists use drones to inspect the condition of crops and livestock. The following types of data are used to do this:
- Data in 3D/Volumetric
- Insect/weed presence
- Assessing relative biomass
- Crop disease
- Nutrients presence
- Numerous plants
- Plant health
- Plant height
- Movements of animals (if any)
These data are collected from drones and used to map plantations, measure yield, and perform farming operations. These data are used in a few important places:
- Indexing the leaf area
- Tree classification
- Analyze of senescence
- Drought estimates
- Monitoring yield
- Monitoring plant stress
- Nitrogen needs
- Field surveillance
- Monitoring crop health
Drones can also be used to create orthomosaic images with agricultural software programs to make precise and quick action. These software programs create precise maps that are extremely useful.
These maps are very useful for farm operators to determine the best time to water, when to supply nitrogen, and when to spray. The drone data tends to increase yields by many folds.
How drones are used to survey crops?
No matter what type of drone you use, the process of collecting data with the drone is the same. The drone survey process generally has four steps.
1. Plan The Flight
You can easily plan your flight with the latest drones that come with flight planning software. This software allows you to draw a circle around the area you want to survey. Google Earth, or another similar tool, can be used to do this.
The flight plan will be automatically created. The next step is to upload the flight plan to the drone. You don’t need to code if you fly on a new ground station. However, if you fly on an older ground station, you will need to manually code.
Your flight plan is complete and your drone can fly. The drone will take photos and fly. You just need to fly the drone, and it will automatically capture images using its cameras and other sensors.
It uses its GPS location to locate itself. After its work is done, the drone lands automatically. If your drone cannot automatically take photos, you will need to manually take them during flight.
Manual shooting requires that the drone images be overlapped and covered in the required area. Clicking images using GPS should not be done at the same time. To get correct data, the images must overlap by 70%.
3. Processing Of Images
This is the most difficult part. You must process the images you took manually or automatically to collect data. Data collected will allow you to identify crop health, spot anomalies, as well as overall plant growth.
Each drone can take hundreds of thousands of images, including thermal and multi-spectral, per flight. This is a difficult task. All these images are then gathered together and converted into 2D orthomosaic photos. The data is then processed and analyzed.
This special processing software and services can be used for all of these. Pix4D and AgEagle’s Rapid are some of the most popular process imaging software. These softwares convert aerial images into useful data.
These tools all use cloud-based processing, so there is no need to worry. A few of these tools are general image processing platforms, while others are specific flying hardware. The proprietary ones are more precise and exact.
There is another option. If you don’t want to do the process yourself, you can have it done at a drone processing center. Many data processing services can generate reports for you, and you don’t need to be a programmer.
4. Review & Take Action
The work is complete. You now have the reports in your hands. Now is the time for you to evaluate and analyze your crop’s health.
It is easy to check if your crops require nitrogen or sprayer, what is the yield, water retention, crop health, and the classification of the trees.
It doesn’t matter what information you find, it will help you improve the yield and health of your crop. To get a better understanding of your crop’s needs, you can use this information in farm management systems such as MyAgCentral.
Why are drones preferred for precision agriculture over other aerial imaging systems?
Agriculture accounts for around 80% of global drone industry revenue. When compared to other aerial imaging system, drones have many advantages when it comes to crop monitoring.
There are many reasons why drones are so useful, and we will discuss a few of them in detail below.
- Affordable: Images can be captured by drones for areas less than 50 acres. For small fields, they are less expensive than satellites and manned aircraft surveillance.
- Precise: The drone cameras give you precise aerial images of every centimeter. They can also give you exact details about the farm and crop.
- Early results: Drones are more frequent than other methods in assessing the crop. This is why they can tell you more often about any weeds, insects, or other abnormalities.
- 3D Volumetric Data – Drone images can show you exactly how many piles, holes, and hills there are in the field. These volume data can be used to determine the exact volume of any field.
- Frequent reporting: Drones are economical. They can be used multiple times to monitor your fields. They can easily measure different crop indexes like the CCCI, CWSI, and NDVI.
These techniques can be used on a regular basis to help farmers catch problems quicker and respond more quickly to them.
Agricultural drones can save thousands of acres of crops from going to waste. Farmers use more precise and detailed pictures of their crops. To achieve effective results, they create their own crop management strategies.
How many acres a drone can cover?
In 20 minutes, a drone flying at 45km/hour could cover 100 acres. A drone for agriculture is designed to last one flight.
How many farmers use drones?
According to the Munich Reinsurance America survey, it seems that not many farmers do it. This is due to privacy and cyber security concerns, as well as issues with drone injury or damage.
Half of the farmers aren’t sure whether drones should be used on their farms. They are still trying to figure out how they can be used effectively to improve yield.
This article is a comprehensive guide to help you choose the best agricultural drones. You’ll find everything from drone recommendations to common problems when flying drones, and answers to FAQs about these devices.
We hope this information proves useful in your search! If you have any other questions or are looking for specific guidance on how to fly commercial drones in an agricultural setting, please reach out anytime.
Our team of experts would be happy to answer all your questions and provide assistance with customizing a plan that works specifically for you.
Last update on 2021-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API