Drone use for precision agriculture in South Africa

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Drones in agriculture

Agriculture in South Africa has its fair share of ups and downs. However, a small hero is making serious in-roads into easing the burden on farmers. This winged champion comes in the form of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone.

Drone use has exploded in South Africa – indeed, worldwide. And their uses seem to grow as technology develops.

In agriculture, drone use is proving an amazing solution to security, maintenance, livestock and environmental aspects.

How so?

Routine checks of fence lines, dam levels, windmills, livestock, wild game and more – means a great deal of time in a vehicle. Fuel and maintenance costs on a farm vehicle add up quickly – but launching a drone with an autonomous flight plan can do all of this for you. In a fraction of the time. Advanced cameras can feed telemetry to your ground station for remote analysis in a matter of minutes.

If any problems are encountered, the farmer knows exactly where to go to conduct a further investigation.

Security and general surveillance is also a major factor for farmers. The suspicion of stock theft, wild animals, fence breaches or intruders are dealt with quickly (and safely) by launching a drone to the affected area. Thermal imaging makes night time scans easy and accurate – and provides a record of the event in a high definition image.

Tracking wildlife – especially endangered animals in your care – is far easier, and your reaction time is significantly less than launching a helicopter to intercept poachers.

Besides the above, monitoring drought conditions, crops, growth patterns, soil conditions and more – is incredibly easy. Sensors and cameras are being developed at an incredible rate, and the ability to use big data for precision agriculture is now available to all.

Obviously, these drones and the associated equipment comes at a cost. The payload – cameras and sensors – can be very pricey.

CC&A support local farmers and now offer comprehensive drone insurance packages for commercial users to protect their investment.  Get in touch with one of our brokers.