Reshaping Africa with Drone Data: In Agriculture
The use of drones in agriculture is far reaching. Drones have been used all over the world for agriculture in all corners of the world. Drones are making a huge impact on the maintenance of farms and crop yields. In the last decade, drones have helped farmers plan how to a deal with the many unknowns of the agriculture business. The technology that drones bring to the sector allow most of these unknowns to be mitigated better than traditional methods.
Agriculture is Ghana’s most important economic sector. This sector also faces many challenges because many of the farms in Ghana are small-scale and independently-owned. Many struggle to monitor and optimize operations and yields. Agriculture contributes 54% of Ghana’s GDP, and accounts for over 40% of export earnings, and at the same time provides over 90% of the food needs of the country. The uses of drones in this sector can benefit both large and small-scale farms.
Many of the issues and challenges faced can be reduced with drones. Those who use drones in agriculture refer to this method as precision agriculture. Precision agriculture is a method in which farmers manage crops and livestock by applying the right practice, at the right time and with the right quantity. This aims to ensure the efficiency of inputs such as water, fertilizers, and pesticides, while also enhancing productivity, quality, and yield.
Benefits of precision farming are factors such as removing uncertainty, increase yield, save time and plan for the future.
Remove uncertainty – Using drones, farmers receive accurate real-time data to effectively respond to factors you have no control over such as weather, soil conditions, precipitation, and temperature.
Increase yield – Using drones to monitor farms improves farm efficiency by identifying crop health issues early. This consequently increases yield and productivity
Saves time – Time is money. Drones can be used quickly and frequently allowing farmers to gain information where and when they need it on farm, freeing up time for farmers to focus on other aspects of farm management.
Plan for future – Drone surveys and mapping can be done throughout the year to help farmers improve and streamline land and farm management practices.
All of the methods are carried out with various types of sensors such as RGB sensors, near inferred sensors (NIR), multi-spectral sensors, thermal sensors and LiDAR.
The agricultural community is just scratching the surface of what drone technology can provide to the industry. As research continues and engineers find new ways to integrate aerial data collection into farming operations, we are likely to see significant jumps in crop production. Now is the ideal time for stakeholders and decision makers involved in agriculture to consider the integration of UAS technology into their operations.