Precision agriculture is likely to play a significant role in what is projected to be a roughly $82 billion unmanned aerial vehicle industry, but it will take time to develop, experts said Friday at Precision Agriculture Day at the Champaign County Fairgrounds, writes Matt Sanctis, DaytonDailyNews.com.
The Federal Aviation Administration recently released its first regulations governing how small drones can operate commercially in U.S. airspace, which are expected to take effect on Monday. For farmers, the technology could provide high resolution images and data to help identify disease, ensure plants are receiving the right mix of nutrients and monitor yields, for example.
But it will take some time for the technology to mature and become more cost-effective before its use becomes widespread, said John Fulton, an associate professor in the office of agricultural engineering at Ohio State University. And farmers need to know the rules before they try to use the technology or potentially face thousands in fines. The rules apply for businesses that are using UAV for commercial purposes, including farming.
“There’s opportunity, the problem is there’s still a cost to have someone do that for you,” Fulton said.