There are several uses for drones to support greater efficiencies in primary produce industries. High-tech drones are already in use in agriculture, allowing operators to remotely pilot, and in some cases automate processes such as planting, livestock management, crop spraying and mapping. These potential drone uses are leading and supporting a new branch of agricultural processes, sometimes referred to as precision agriculture.
Drones can deliver faster, more precise results than traditional processes, which are often labour intensive or require machinery or hire charges, for example. In the agricultural sector, drones are being used to improve the accuracy of pesticide and herbicide delivery, which reduces excess spraying and the potential impacts of runoff on local ecosystems.
In addition to existing processes, drones are also an enabling technology for advanced agricultural practices. Relatively low cost, 3D mapping and aerial imagery of farms are enabling farmers to tailor the level and distribution of soil and chemical additives over the crop, ensuring each area of the farm receives the optimal amount of additive. Consequently, drones have the potential to be a catalyst for increases in agricultural yields.