UAS/Drone – Agriculture

Unmanned Aircraft System (UASs) or Drones are providing photographic and video data that are being utilized by farmers to assist in precision agriculture crop management techniques as a way to boost crop yields and profits.

Example of Uses

  • A drone can fly over and create a 3D map of a field, which it can compare against the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for that land, as well as see elevations and a lot of other detailed information at the level where one pixel of the 3D map can represent 3cm of land.
  • Drones flying above fields using the live video feature allow farmers to see what areas were missed by fertilizer chemical applications and help them to adjust accordingly.
  • Farmers running field trials when planting two or more varieties of crops in one field can use aerial photos to compare the different varieties and make accurate seed selections.
  • Drones equipped with thermal recognition technology allow farmers to locate livestock or unwelcome wild animals on the farm or on pasture land.
  • Real time aerial video and photographs will provide farmers an instant assessment of field drainage problems.
  • The ability for drones to record video enables farmers to provide real time accurate documentation of their crop’s condition to their insurance company.
  • Drones help farmers to instantly recognize over-watered areas as well as areas that don’t have a need for specific chemicals such as insecticides and fungicides.
  • Farmers can use drones to assess damage to barns, silos and machinery after storms, hail and high winds.
  • A drone flying over fields could spot irrigation leaks and other trouble spots that cost the farmer money.


  • By using drones to survey farm land regularly, crop disease or pests can be spotted and addressed during early stages, thus realizing a savings on the cost of chemicals used in spraying.
  • High resolution spectral imaging will garner data-driven insight, allowing for more targeted fertilizing and better use of water and labor.
  • The American Farm Bureau Federation estimates farmers’ return-on-investment alone could be $12.00 per acre for corn and $2 to $3 per acre for soybeans and wheat.